[Stingy Media] While Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan and his top administrators are getting hammered for taking routine and generous salary bonuses, it's a whole other story over at the Deseret News.
City Weekly recently acquired an April 11 memo to the editorial staff from DN Board Chairman and homebuilding-magnate-millionaire Ellis Ivory, which announced the end of the newspaper's annual holiday bonus program.
"As you know, the newspaper industry is facing difficult economic times. The Deseret News is not immune to those difficulties," Ivory wrote.
"Because of declining revenue and our continued concern about the difficult financial road ahead, the Deseret News Board of Directors has voted to eliminate the annual bonus program. We are very sorry to have to do this, but believe it to be essential for the economic viability of the paper. Even though the bonus is generally paid in November, we are announcing this step now so as to give you as much advance notice as possible." Ivory noted that merit-based bonuses will be covered on an "as-needed" basis.
Ivory concluded: "Despite this difficult economic climate, we believe the Deseret News has a bright future. With your continued best efforts, we believe there are great opportunities in print and online, to become an even better general circulation newspaper and fully develop our specialty niches, such as Mormon Times and MormonTimes.com"
One staff member says the holiday bonus, which has been paid out as long as anyone can remember, is based on salary level and years of service. "[Bonuses] ranged from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars," the staffer says. "For many big families, the bonus paid for their Christmas. They passed out the memo because lots of people were complaining--including the company suck-ups who never utter a negative word about the paper."
For Salt Blog readers who may be living in a sensory-deprivation chamber, the Deseret News is owned and nicely subsidized by the LDS Church. The no-bonus memo was issued the same day DN editor and former Washington D.C. lobbyist Joe Cannon announced the paper would drop the "Morning" from its masthead. Observers of the local media scene say the change was to help sell the heralded "niche" publications referred to above. The name Deseret News is traditional, and resonates nicely with those who read it only for faith-building information. Very "niche." (Holly Mullen)