Yesterday, we wrote about the rumours of astronomical salaries being paid to mainstream media stars who have jumped ship and joined new-media outfits like the Huffington Post and Daily Beast.We said that we had been unable to confirm these rumours and that, in the case of Howard Kurtz’s rumoured salary of $600,000 from the Daily Beast, one person close to the situation had dismissed the figure as “laughable” (but wouldn’t comment on the actual figure).
And now the Daily Beast itself has gone on the record to howl at the $600,000 number (but, again, wouldn’t comment on the reality):
As people who assumed we had “knowledge of the situation,” we too were flabbergasted to read the salary figures you tossed out for Howie Kurtz. For the record, they are, as you suggest, “wildly inflated figments of hyper-active imaginations.”
So that’s Howard, who, one assumes, is still doing fine.
Meanwhile, there has been no comment, on the record or off, on the rumoured $400,000 and $300,000 we have heard the Huffington Post paid to poach Tim O’Brien and Peter Goodman, respectively, away from the New York Times.
But we do have some other new information.
Namely, that it’s not just the Daily Beast and Huffington Post who are driving the bids for print journalists into the stratosphere. There’s other well-funded and aggressive competition out there, too. And this competition is also paying money so big that managers at the raided publications can only shake their heads and bid their employees goodbye.The other new bidders?
- Rupert Murdoch’s iPad newspaper, The Daily, which has paid up to pick off a bunch of big names, and
- Bloomberg, LLC, which has quietly become the second-richest and most powerful media organisation in the world.
Here are some of the rumours knocking around about how much money Bloomberg is paying people, courtesy of an MSMer who is keeping his fingers crossed that his own phone will be the next to ring:
Also getting big dollars recently are [technology reporters] Brad Stone and Ashlee Vance from the New York Times, both of whom went to Bloomberg. Vance apparently told people that neither of them wanted to leave but the bump was so huge they could not say no. Brad told people that Bberg doubled his Times salary–the word on him was $250,000. Vance was not as much but also crazy, considering he’s a pup.
Also, [New York Times tech editor Damon] Damon is supposedly pissed that his talent is getting poached away, but he can’t match the offers, can’t even come close. The Times tries to keep people by talking about prestige, audience, and all the impact you’ll have, but at some point, if you’re Brad or someone like him, look, you’ve got kids, a mortgage, etc. And even though nobody pays any attention to Bloomberg, you can’t say no to the salary.
(ASIDE: “Nobody pays attention to Bloomberg.” You’ve got to love that. No one pays attention…except the tens of thousands of folks who pay $1,700 a month for Bloomberg terminals. To media people used to speaking to millions of people in the GP (General Public), of course, that really is “no one”–you presumably feel like you’re giving a speech in a closet. But in terms of the long-term health and prosperity of one’s employer, it’s hard to imagine a better place to work than Bloomberg.)
All in all, as we suggested yesterday, it looks like a new golden age for those in the news business. And this is a refreshing change–and far cry–from the “woe is us” sob-story of a few years ago, when the cushy sinecures of the good old days were supposedly history and all real journalists were about to get canned.
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