Accuracy in Media

While The New York Times continues to struggle, departing CEO Janet L. Robinson is laughing all the way to the bank as the company agreed to pay her pension benefits earlier than previously expected.

The company had said in an SEC filing, when Robinson’s retirement was first announced, that she wouldn’t be eligible for full pension benefits until she had turned 63 and had been with the company for 30 years. Robinson is 61 and has been with the Times Co. for 28 years.

Combined with her $4.5 million consulting contract, her $10.9 million in accrued pension benefits will give Robinson an exit package worth in excess of $15 million while cuts continue at the paper.

The New York Observer reported this week that several prominent reporters and editors have accepted buyouts, as the paper continues to try and reduce overhead.

Also, the company announced on Monday that it is looking to sell its regional newspaper group and would use that money to reduce its long term debt, which stands at more than $500 million. The group saw advertising revenues drop 30.2 percent between 2008 and 2009, plus another 8.2 percent last year, with no signs of rebounding in the near future.

The Times also announced that in an effort to raise revenues there will be a 4% increase in home delivery rates for the paper starting in January. This may seem rather small but it pushes the cost of receiving the Times every day to about $800 per year. Compare that to The Wall Street Journal which also is distributed nationally but costs more than one-third less than the Times, even after factoring in the Journal’s six-day a week schedule.

Robinson may be leaving the paper in worse shape than when she took over, but at least her financial future is secure.

(h/t Reuters)

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