About three weeks ago, the Washington Post Co. sent an email to 63 newsroom employees who have received stock-option bonuses. “The options were apparently awarded over the past three years as a reward for work that top editors liked and/or as a way to keep people from leaving the paper,” my source writes. “They were granted in lieu of raising salaries (the paper didn’t want to spend actual cash, so it gave options instead).
“With the strong rise in the company’s stock over the past year, the options are now worth a substantial amount (more than $630 per share at present value). And some of these people were awarded hundreds of options.”
The options recipients were told in the email that they had to sell their holdings because of the paper’s change in ownership.
The person at the paper who sent the email inadvertently disclosed the names of all recipients, I’m told, and now “there’s a sense of haves and have nots, winners and losers” in the newsroom. (The existence of this bonus-recipents list was news to some staffers I contacted.)
Washington Post Co. vice president-communications Rima Calderon declined to discuss the list with me. “We have no comment,” she said in a very brief phone chat.
Washington Post reporter and Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild co-chair Freddy Kunkle — he isn’t the person who forwarded the list, by the way — writes:
The Guild has always told its members: ‘If you can negotiate better terms with the company for yourself than the union has, by all means, go for it.’ So we’re glad the company is sharing the wealth with people who have worked hard and produced quality journalism for the Post. But the Post is also more than its superstars. Many people, including circulation drivers, advertising sales reps, and copy editors, perform work that’s just as important if less noticed. So it’s troublesome to think that while management is giving stock to a small group of people, it’s been extremely tightfisted with everyone else, usually offering nothing more than lump sum payments once a year. The Guild wants to make sure everyone is fairly compensated, especially when the Post is asking everyone to work harder and be more productive because of our financial troubles.
Here is the list of bonus recipients that was forwarded to me:
Achenbach, Joel L; Bank, Justin S; Baron, Martin D; Barr, Cameron W; Bell, Melissa A; Beyers, Dan; Brouillard, Damien P; Cha, Ariana; Cho, David D; Cillizza, Chris M; Cohen, Jonathan M; Curran, Timothy J; Diehl, Jackson K; Eggen, Dan; Fahrenthold, David A; Ferguson-Rohrer, Anne M; Finkel, David L; Fisher, Marc F; Ginsberg, Steven J; Griffin, David L; Haik, Cory T; Tsukayama, Hayley M; Helderman, Rosalind S; Hiatt, Fred; Irwin, Neil; Jaffe, Greg; Jehl, Douglas D; Jenkins, Sally; Jordan, Mary C; Kellett, Ryan Y; Kilgore, Adam D; Klein, Ezra; Kornblut, Anne E; Lane, Charles M; Loeb, Vernon F; Malcolm, Kenisha R; Marburger, Joey; Marcus, Ruth A; McCartney, Robert J; McCrummen, Stephanie L; Merida, Kevin E; Miller, Greg; Mufson, Steven J; Hermann, Peter E; Rich, Eric B; Rucker, Philip J; Sampsel, Sarah A; Samuel, Terence; Saslow, Eli E; Schneider, Gregory S; Sellers, Frances S; Steinberg, Dan; Stewart, Nikita R; Stuever, Hank; Sullivan, Kevin J; Tate, Julie A; Thompson, Krissah S; Tumulty, Karen E; Victor, Yuri A; Vobejda, Barbara; Wallsten, Peter; Whitlock, Craig; Wilson, Scott W.