Blogger Spotlights Outgoing ‘WSJ’ Publisher’s Compensation Package

By: E&P Staff

Yesterday’s news reports that Richard F. Zannino had been named to replace Dow Jones CEO Richard Kann played up the power struggle for the top slot and Wall Street’s favorable reaction, but one detail went largely unnoticed until a blogger picked it up today (and Romenesko linked to it).

Freelance journalist and author Michelle Leder, who writes the Footnoted blog that looks at SEC filings, wrote today about how Dow Jones managed to “bury” the news of outgoing Wall Street Journal Publisher Karen Elliott House’s hefty severance package until much of the media storm had passed.

Leder links to an 8-K filing Dow Jones posted this morning that says House, who is married to Kann and who was said to be in the running to succeed him, “will continue to receive her regular salary for 24 months, as well as an amount equal to two times her annual target bonus payable in 24 equal monthly installments.”

According to Leder, House made $513K in salary in 2004 and received a $180,000 bonus, which the proxy notes was “slightly above target levels.”

The 8K says that “Mr. Kann’s and Mr. Zannino’s compensation arrangements have not yet been determined.”

It seems it pays for reporters to check SEC filings, but not as much as it pays to be an outgoing Dow Jones executive.

In other newspaper executive compensation news, New York Observer reporter Gabriel Sherman writes this week about a, SEC report that detailed the generous stock bonuses given to New York Times executives.

Although Sherman did not get his hands on the actual report, he writes that an unnamed New York Times Washington bureau staffer posted a copy of the document on the bureau’s internal bulletin board. But bureau chief Philip Taubman “promptly removed” it, Sherman reports, because he “didn’t want to see it on Romenesko.”

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