“As someone who worked there 16 years–and who wishes the good people still working there the best–I can tell you the question this story won’t answer: who in editorial took millions and millions in bonus dollars to do the hatchet work of laying off loyal career employees? It was all good while Zell and Michaels were in charge, but now that the paper is up for sale, we get a ridiculous attempt to say, in essence, “Hey, it wasn’t our fault.” Note to Gerry Kern: Have some backbone and publish a list of all the editorial employees who took that bonus money in 2009 and 2010. And to think, when I was there, the ethics police dictated that I return anything worth more than a keychain.”
The good news is that while the Tribune has put this huge and compelling series behind its pay wall, its little sister The Morning Call is offering it for free. So you can read it here.
Here is a paragraph from Part 1 that irritates me the most:
Many participants [in the buyout of the company] were richly rewarded. A group of Tribune Co. executives got close to $150 million in cashed-out stock and other payments triggered by the deal, while the company’s banks and advisers collected almost $280 million in fees — the kinds of compensation that helped drive the record boom in corporate buyouts that preceded the global economic collapse. But there would be significant costs, too. The deal blew up for the banks, and many of its architects face litigation aimed at clawing back their gains.