Maybe the Occupy meme is already feeling a bit dated — even as the protesters are starting to shiver in Manhattan, stories are predicting a seasonal demise to their cause … whatever it is. We’ve seen it copied everywhere, as a template of inspiration for other demonstrations and as a joke.
This one takes a bad title, but has some salient points. Why Not Occupy Newsrooms?
The newspaper business is struggling, and those of us who have jobs are lucky to still have them. But how in the world could a board, any board, justify such huge payouts to media executives at a time like this? It’s not that any of them were flight risks, in need of incentive to stick out a bankruptcy. Most had no place to go, and even if they did, many would have trouble shaking off the taint of their previous tenure.
No one, least of all me, is suggesting that running a newspaper company is a piece of cake. But the people in the industry who are content to slide people out of the back of the truck until it runs out of gas not only don’t deserve tens of millions in bonuses, they don’t deserve jobs.
The optics of the bonuses are far worse than the practical impact. Newspapers are asking their employees for shared sacrifice and their digital readers to begin paying. So, lucrative packages won’t cut it. As newspapers all over the country struggle to divine the meaning of the Occupy protests, some of the companies that own them might want to listen closely to see if there is a message there meant for them.