It’s a question we hear often: How would Tronc pay for the raises and improved benefits we’ll pursue through our union?
Well, the answer is that a great deal of money continues to flow into The Times, because of the high-quality journalism our newsroom produces every day. At a recent all-hands meeting, Ross Levinsohn said Tronc still earns $1.5 billion in annual revenue and remains profitable.
The problem is that a disproportionate amount of those profits are lavished on the salaries and perks for Levinsohn and a handful of other richly compensated Tronc executives.
The Columbia Journalism Review noted Monday that executive compensation at Tronc shot up 80% last year — a nearly $9 million jump over 2015. That squares with the findings below from a NewsGuild analysis of Tronc’s SEC filings.
THE PRIVATE JET
Michael Ferro’s private jet alone costs the company millions. From February 2016 through September of this year, Tronc spent $4.6 million to sublease and operate the sleek Bombardier aircraft, which costs $8,500 an hour to fly. The kicker? Tronc subleases the jet from Merrick Ventures, one of Ferro’s companies.
Last year, Tronc CEO Justin Dearborn made an eye-popping $8.1 million in total compensation. He made substantially more than his counterparts at The New York Times Co., Gannett Corp., Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal and McClatchy, among others. In fact, Dearborn’s compensation was $3 million more than that of New York Times CEO Mark Thompson, whose company has revenues similar to ours but a market value many multiples of Tronc’s. Plus, Thompson took a pay cut in 2016 because he did not meet his performance goals.
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