It was announced on Tuesday that Lee Enterprises CEO Mary Junck was given a $500,000 bonus for refinancing the bankrupt newspaper chain’s debt. On the same day, at least two Lee newspapers laid off staffers, including the sports editor at the Montana Standard. I called Gerry O’Brien — he edits the Standard and Helena Independent Record — and he refused to discuss the cuts. He also declined to tell me the size of his news staff.
Here’s just one comment posted below the Junck bonus story on my Facebook wall:
Tim Mullaney also wrote on my Facebook wall: “All [Junck] ever was was a decent ad-sales head. I worked for her in Baltimore, and she was no strategist even at the division level. That anyone made her a CEO in the first place is baffling — you could have thrown water balloons in the newsroom and hit 10 better candidates.”
Bill Reader wrote in comments on this site: “Newspaper companies used to condemn robber barons. Now they create them from within.”
It’s only fair to let Junck respond to her critics and explain why she deserves a $500,000 bonus, so I called her office and left a message. I’m waiting for her to return my call.