Monthly Archives: June 2007


He frowns upon your questions.

Here’s a quick lesson in Conflict of Interests 101. A reader writes into the New York Times asking if their op-ed columnists can take outside income, perhaps even from some other interested parties as well.

He quickly gets the bizniz from Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal.

To be frank, my first reaction was to take offense: the notion that one of our columnists would be paid by an interested party is that far out of the boundaries of the principles and ethics that guide this organization. Those rules are strict, far stricter than other news organizations, in my experience, and deeply embedded in our culture. Our journalists are not supposed to let a source or other interested party buy them a slice of pizza, never mind taking payments. For someone who works here, the kinds of things you ask about are not in the realm of possibility. But you’re not here, and not familiar with how we operate, so it’s a reasonable question.”

Yea! You tell him Andy! Reader, are you a moron? Well since you’re not a true-blooded, Murrow-fearing journalist such as myself, I guess I can enlighten you a bit. Stupid mortals.


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Filed under Journalistic Integrity

And why is this on here?

She asses all the right questions. Get it? Please laugh. Please?

Here’s sort of a throw-away post, but during my daily perusal of Gawker (straight guys read that right? Right? I mean not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m sorry! Please come back! This parentheses thought is too long!), I found a new salary stat to add to … The List…

We hear that Julia Allison’s new gig as Star talking head is netting her over $100K. That “sniiiick sniiiick” noise you just heard was us slitting our wrists.

Basically she’ll be representing Star as an expert or something for TV spots regarding celebrity news.

I have to be honest. I don’t really know who Julia Allison is, or what her relationship with Gawker is really since she seems to be mentioned there a lot, but there you go. She gets a six figure salary for being a mouth piece…ooh unintended puns are fun! And so are rhymes!

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Filed under blogs, Media, Salary

You’ll still respect me in the morning, right?

Do I make you horny, baby? Yeah? RAWR

I was going through the Romenesko blog today and found this interesting article from Editor & Publisher’s Joe Strupp. Basically it gets a lot of heavy hitters in the industry to chime in on the Dow Jones/Rupert Murdoch deal. It’s obviously been a hot topic among journalists given the status of the Wall Street Journal, and Murdoch’s reputation. The funny thing is that to get the $5 billion deal done, the participants are trying to work out an editorial independence clause to seem like they care about journalism.

The thing is, when you have news people getting news that affect news people, you better expect to get everyone’s two cents.

Anyway, keeping with that spirit, here’s mine: It’s kind of comical, because to get the deal done, the Bancrofts (majority shareholders) and Murdoch don’t need anyone else’s approval. This is just a move for aesthetic purposes; to show that it isn’t just about the money, when it actually is. You know what this seems like? It’s like a girl who’s about to cheat on her boyfriend with a known womanizer. She’s trying to talk herself into it, and he’s just trying to get in her pants. He’ll promise the world to her at that point, doesn’t mean it’ll mean anything the morning after.

She’s telling herself things like “It’s OK, we’re in different area codes…we’re on a break…It won’t hurt him if he doesn’t find out.”

The womanizer is saying things like “You’re absolutely right…I promise you everything will be fine tomorrow…It’s not a big deal.”

All the meanwhile, she knows deep down inside that she’s screwing her boyfriend over, and it doesn’t matter what she says to herself. The bottom line is that she wanted to do it, and it wasn’t going to stop her anyway.

For the womanizer? He just wanted to get in her pants.

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Filed under Rupert Murdoch, Wall Street Journal

And while we’re on blogs…

Payscale? PAYSCALE?!

Here’s an interesting read from the Online Journalism Review about monetizing traffic. The part that really caught my attention, obviously, was the section on Nick Denton and Gawker’s complex payscale.

Gawker Media writers are on a freelance contract and get paid based on the number of posts, with possible bonuses for traffic performance. The kicker is, there are loopholes in the way bloggers are paid.

While Denton wouldn’t get into the details of his pay structure, one of his writers told me more about the complex system for compensation, though declined to be named for fear of losing the work. According to this writer, a blogger with high traffic growth can “accrue a lot of potential money.” The problem is that the bonus is “banked” and the entire sum can’t be taken out in one month, leaving it to drop as the traffic drops in future months. To make it even more complicated, traffic bonuses are weighted according to a multiplier depending on the subject matter of the blog.

“There’s a maximum withdrawal per month,” the writer said. “So you could actually make $50,000 in traffic bonuses per month, but you could only take out $5,000 or so. But by the time a few months have gone by, your traffic could have trended downward, and it could have eaten up the traffic bonus you had earned. … It makes sense for Nick, but it makes all of us really uneasy.” Lockhart Steele, managing editor at Gawker Media, wouldn’t explain the details of the pay structure to me but said that any bonus plan involves a certain amount of complexity.

I can certainly understand how the system protects Gawker, at the same time giving some sort of incentive for the writers to drive traffic, but I mean how depressing is that if traffic is absolutely amazing one month? After that, aren’t you just watching your money get taken back from you?

Anyway, the article also talks about Jason Calacanis’s Weblogs, Inc., which was sold to AOL in 2005. Calacanis experimented with a 50/50 ad revenue sharing with his writers, and I guess the success rate was far from desirable. He eventually converted to a standard flat rate.

Here are two other good (somewhat old) reads about Gawker’s compensation. I Want Media discusses the system with former Gawker editor managing editor Lockhard Steele.

Also, Gawker responds to some rumor from HuffPo, which had a nice little gem about what the “top of Gawker Media’s salary range” looks like (somewhere along the lines of $7,000 a week)

As it seems with most of my posts, the article may be old but it still applies…Right? Doesn’t it? Seriously, right?

You’re not there are you?

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Filed under blogs, gawker, Salary

Freelance, shmeelance… Just blog, baby!

Will you fight the good fight?

After briefly surfing around the net today, I came across this nice little find: Paula Neal Mooney compiled a pretty comprehensive list of bloggers and what they earn through the Internet.

The list contains some domainers, web masters, and other people making their bones on the Internet, but is mostly a list of bloggers. I’m not sure too sure about the methodology, but to her credit, Mooney does seem to have done her best to report the most accurate data as possible. The reason I say this is because there seems to be some fill-in-the-blank math used, but that’s understandable.

Anyway, if you were ever interested in blogging, bloggers, or making side money in general in your underwear living in your mom’s basement, this is definitely a good read. Though she says that there aren’t some heavy hitters like Scobleizer’s Robert Scoble, she does include quite a few notables. In fact, here are just a few:

*Michael Arrington – TechCrunch – $1.8 million
*Matt Drudge – The Drudge Report – $1.2 million
*Mario Lavandeira – Perez Hilton – $468,000 – $832,000

Also, you should take note that those are some of the higher end bloggers. If you take a look at the other end of the spectrum, some bloggers don’t even break $100 for the year. So, even though the appeal of anonymity though a kickass Web moniker, milky pale white skin, and a general sense of discombobulation due to what seems like an eternity of looking for blog fodder appeals to you…be forewarned, the glitz and glamor comes at a price…I think…

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Filed under Uncategorized

The List

The $15 million-a-year face

Throughout the life of The Earnalist, we shall keep a running list of reported salaries of members in the media. We will link to our source material every time. If you find a discrepancy, please feel free to note it in the comments section, or contact us at

Here is the running list of media salaries:

From the Forbes Celebrity 100 (2006)
Katie Couric- $15 million – Anchor/Managing Editor of CBS Evening News
Diane Sawyer- $12 million – Co-Anchor of Good Morning America
Bill O’Reilly- $9 million – Host of The O’Reilly Factor

From the Forbes Celebrity 100 (2007)
Rush Limbaugh- $33 million – Host of The Rush Limbaugh Show
Mitch Albom- $6 million (with book deals) – Author/Columnist for The Detroit Free Press

From New York Magazine’s “Who Makes How Much” 2005 Salary Guide
Malcolm Gladwell- $1.5 million – Author (advance, plus $250,000 New Yorker salary, speaking engagements.
Sonny Mehta- $750,000 – Chairman/EIC Alfred A. Knopf Publishing Group
Sam Tanenhaus- $180,000 – Editor of The New York Times Book Review
Arthur Sulzberger Jr. – $1.92 million-
Chairman and publisher, the New York Times Co.
Karen Elliott House – $877,000 – Publisher, the Wall Street Journal
Bill Keller – $650,000 – Executive editor, the New York Times
Col Allan – $600,000 – Editor, New York Post
Richard Johnson – $300,000 – “Page Six” gossip columnist
Thomas Friedman – $300,000 – Columnist, the New York Times (plus $40,000 per speaking engagement)
Will Shortz – $90,000 – Crossword editor, the New York Times
Maria Schneider – $17,500 – Associate Editor, The Onion
Jim Romenesko – $169,187 – Blogger, the Poynter Institute
Jessica Coen – $30,000 – Blogger, (disputed)
Hugh Hefner – $983,000 – Founder and editor-in-chief, Playboy Enterprises
Norm Pearlstine – $2 million – Editor-in-chief, Time Inc.
Anna Wintour – $2 million – Editor, Vogue
Sylvana Soto-Ward – $40,000Assistant to Anna Wintour
Bonnie Fuller – $1,574,851 – Editorial director, American Media
Janice Min – $1.2 million – Editor, Us Weekly
James Kelly – $1.1 million – Managing editor, Time
Tom Wallace – $1 million – Editorial director, Condé Nast
David Remnick – $1 millionEditor, The New Yorker
Charlie Gibson – $7 million – Co-anchor, Good Morning America
Brian Williams – $4 million – Anchor, NBC Nightly News
Anderson Cooper – $2 million – Host, Anderson Cooper 360 (since signed new contract worth $50 million over 5 years with CNN)
Chuck Scarborough – $3 million – Anchor, WNBC news
Sue Simmons – $2.5 million – Anchor, WNBC news
Sam Champion – $1.5 million – Weatherman, WABC
Pat Kiernan – $200,000 – Anchor, NY1
Roger Ailes – $7.1 million – Chairman, Fox News Channel
Andrew Heyward – $1.5 million – President, CBS News
Jon Stewart – $1.5 million (contract ends in 2008) – Host, The Daily Show
Flower – $150,000 ($275 per one-eight ounce – Cocaine dealer, Lower East Side (For deadline purposes)

Other Notables:
Anderson Cooper – $10 million a year for 5 years – As mentioned above
Keith Olbermann – reportedly demanded salary increase to over $4 million from $1 million in December 2006 – Host of Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

Just as a disclaimer for anyone reading the list, as you probably already know, some of these numbers aren’t completely accurate. In fact, some may not even still apply , i.e. Jessica Coen of Gawker who, along with Gawker Media, denied the reported salary. In addition, and probably more importantly, Coen is no longer with Gawker, leaving in September 2006 to join Vanity Fair.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some reports are for total earnings for the corresponding year. One example is Mitch Albom, whose book deal with Starbucks generated a good portion of the $9 million he made that year.

Also, The List is compiled of available information found through extended research (hint: Google) and any past reports. Updates will be made as new information is uncovered, but past salaries included in the list will always be stated as such. This was the first, and hopefully not the last (well at least WE hope) version of The List.

We promise to work on organizing future lists to be more…reader-friendly. As always, please feel free to send us any information you have on salaries of anyone in the media, be it a major publication or a backwater newspaper, any contribution is greatly appreciated.

With that said, and in the spirit of this post, we shall leave you with this…

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Filed under Media, Salary, The List

Ah yea…Make It Sprinkle…

Your annual salary

Here’s a find from CollegeJournal (a publication from The Wall Street Journal) on the field of journalism. Here’s a quick glance:

# Daily newspapers: $26,000
# Weekly newspapers: $24,000
# Radio: $23,000
# Television: $23,500
# Cable television: $30,000
# Advertising: $28,000
# Public relations: $28,500
# Consumer magazines: $27,000
# Newsletters, trade publications: $28,000
# Web sites: $32,000

So, is this along the lines of what you were expecting? Still want to “make a difference?” Hm? HM? Bet you wish you listened to Mom and Dad now huh? Ahem finance, ahem…

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Filed under Journalism, Journalist, Media, Salary, Wall Street Journal, Young