Two announcements this week summed up everything that is currently wrong with the regional newspaper industry.
In the past few days it was revealed that Johnston Press chief executive John Fry was paid almost a million pounds in the last year, while Sly Bailey – chief exec at Trinity Mirror – took home £1.68m.
While their paper’s up and down the country criticise council, fire or hospital chiefs for taking home comparatively moderate wages, these fat cats haul in massive salaries while presiding over some of the most painful cuts to ever hit the newspaper industry.
Mr Fry, who took over as chief executive at JP on January 1, 2009, received a total remuneration of £959,000 in 2009 which included a salary of £525,000, cash and deferred share bonuses worth £420,000, with £14,000 of other benefits.
During that time the company recorded a fall in pre-tax profits of 56 per cent to £43.3m, was forced to refinance is debt facility of £485m and cancelled the proposed sale of its Irish titles as it was unable to find a buyer willing to meet its valuation of the businesses.
The group’s annual report also shows that JP made a staggering reduction in its staff numbers of 6,146 employees, while introducing the hugely unpopular ATEX content system that could provoke a national strike.
At Trinity Mirror, Ms Bailey was awarded an even greater sum. Her package increased by almost 68 per cent on the previous year and included a basic salary of £736,000, a cash bonus of £671,000 with an additional £248,000 in pension contributions to trump the £1m package she was paid in 2008.
This despite the fact Trinity axed 1,700 staff members, sold or closed 30 publications, closed one print plant and 15 offices, recorded a fall in pre-tax profits of 42 per cent to £72.7m and introduced a group-wide salary freeze.
Revenues fell by £108.4m to £763.3m during that same period.
It’s enough to make you sick.
State of Play: Being squeezed to death