14 May 2014

Shorter New York Times, "We Pay Bros More than Ho's"

It was announced today that the New York Times fired Jill Abramson as executive editor.

It appears that this was largely because she complained when she discovered that her pay was significantly less than her predecessor, as well as one of her (male) subordinates:
As with any such upheaval, there’s a history behind it. Several weeks ago, I’m told, Abramson discovered that her pay and her pension benefits as both executive editor and, before that, as managing editor were considerably less than the pay and pension benefits of Bill Keller, the male editor whom she replaced in both jobs. “She confronted the top brass,” one close associate said, and this may have fed into the management’s narrative that she was “pushy,” a characterization that, for many, has an inescapably gendered aspect. Sulzberger is known to believe that the Times, as a financially beleaguered newspaper, needed to retreat on some of its generous pay and pension benefits; Abramson, who spent much of her career at the Wall Street Journal, had been at the Times for far fewer years than Keller, which accounted for some of the pension disparity. Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the Times, said that Jill Abramson’s total compensation as executive editor “was directly comparable to Bill Keller’s”—though it was not actually the same. I was also told by another friend of Abramson’s that the pay gap with Keller was only closed after she complained. But, to women at an institution that was once sued by its female employees for discriminatory practices, the question brings up ugly memories. Whether Abramson was right or wrong, both sides were left unhappy. A third associate told me, “She found out that a former deputy managing editor”—a man—“made more money than she did” while she was managing editor. “She had a lawyer make polite inquiries about the pay and pension disparities, which set them off.”
Of course, Abramson was good for business, and the paper is "financially beleagered" Sulzberger decided to build a palatial new headquarters for the paper, and use very short term debt to finance this, which required a refinance at junk bond rates from Mexican crony capitalist Carlos Slim, and a sale-leaseback of $¾ million square feet in their headquarters.

Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. is letting his sense of entitlement show.


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