Gutting newspapers pays very, very well

Kirk Davis is CEO of GateHouse Media, which owns and/or manages newspapers like the State Journal-Register for the parent New Media Investment Group.

And when we say manage, we mean “suck as much cash from each newspaper as possible” while diminishing its ability to perform quality journalism and serve its community.

According to New Media’s latest proxy, Davis earned $1.4 million in salary, bonus and stock awards for 2016.  He got a 10 percent bump in salary, up to $550,000, and a $500 million bonus — down from his $800,000 bonus the year before, when the company sold the Las Vegas Review-Journal for a huge profit under ethically murky circumstances.

On his watch, the company has enforced a wholesale wage freeze and churned journalists, salespersons, publishers, regional executives and even national-level executives.

But he keeps generating the positive cash flow to pay dividends and fund further acquisitions. That drives up the management fees paid to Fortress Investment Group, the money guys behind this whole enterprise.

In the past three years Fortress has raked in $54 million in fees while newspapers like the State Journal-Register faced staff reductions and many journalists endured 36 more months without a raise.


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