Stop the presses!

March 6, 2007

images-2.jpegPractically every morning, there’s some new tale of woe in the newspaper industry that I usually learn about by reading the excellent Romenesko blog. Lately, these stories seem to fall into three categories: fire sales, lower earnings and layoffs of reporters. Sometimes, there’s a smattering of top editors stepping down, instead of agreeing to gut their newsrooms.

So you can imagine my surprise upon reading the preliminary proxy that Gannett Co (GCI) filed late yesterday. In a nutshell, top Gannett executives are also feeling the heat. How so? Beginning next year, “the Company will no longer provide its senior executives with any allowance for home security systems or club membership fees.”

There were other interesting things in the proxy too. And I’m sure there’s more than a few of my fellow journalists are chatting this morning about how the lowest paid top executive — Craig Moon of USA Today — still received over $2 million in compensation last year.

But as with many things, it’s the little things that count. Just three years ago, Gannett was handing out lifetime consulting gigs, not to mention continued access to the country club. Now, the poor execs will have to pony up for their own country club dues and home security fees. What’s the next perk to go? Could it be the end of the “company provided lunch”?

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