[Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET with more reaction.] Among bloggers reacting to yesterday's New York Times takedown of Gannett's sky-high executive payouts last year:
- Blanding a brand. The issue for any brand is how you cut costs -- especially a media brand like Gannett’s that requires talent and the right kind of spending to produce high-value content. In Gannett’s case, the decision by management to keep executive pay packages rich while cutting into the livelihoods of the company’s employees not only looks bad but it badly hurts brand equity.
- Double (ac)counting. The company issued $500 million in bonds to pay debt -- one accomplishment that the board of directors considered -- and then the company paid down a total of $710 million in debt, most of which came from the issued bonds, which was a second accomplishment. Once again, the board was able to make a single action go a longer way. What frugality!
- Guiding a decline. The piece should make your blood boil, given its portrayal of the greedy executives. The NYT's David Carr says he’s not talking about “incompetents feeding at the trough,” which is correct. The top people at Gannett are quite competent at what they do, namely guiding the decline with little creative response.