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NYT exec under fire for ultra-plush retirement package has Rhody roots

December 28, 2011

Departing New York Times CEO Janet L. Robinson is under fire for a multi-million dollar retirement package that stands in sharp contrast to the newspaper industry’s continued struggles. As it happens, Robinson grew up not far from Providence and began a career that brought her to the pinnacle of American journalism as a public school teacher in Newport and Somerset, Massachusetts.

A 1997 Providence Journal profile describes Robinson’s modest beginnings:

Born in Somerset, she attended Salve Regina college, majoring in English. She then returned to Somerset to teach.

But like many others who started teaching fresh out of college, Robinson decided she wanted a new challenge.

So, 14 years ago at age 33, she decided to spend a summer selling ads for a small weekly newspaper in Newport.

Thus began a rise that eventually landed Robinson in an office next to New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. (the father of ProJo scribe-turned Times reporter Arthur Gregg Sulzberger). 

In the ProJo profile, Robinson attributed her sales ability to her late father, who had been a salesman for Eastern Edison in Fall River. The story recounted how she routinely worked 12 to 13 hours a day and kept paintings of New England harbors (Boston, Newport, and Westport) in her office.

By the time when Robinson returned to Salve Regina a few years back to address graduates, the ProJo reported, she emphasized the importance of family, friends and teachers.

But Robinson’s eye-popping retirement package has gotten more attention as she leaves the NYT. That includes a $4.5 million payment for 2012. Reuters put the value of Robinson’s total package in excess of $15 million.

This comes as the Times Company has sold its string of regional newspapers, leaving some employees wondering if they’ll lose their jobs, and as the Times itself is seeking givebacks, including a freeze in the pension plan, Fishbowl NY reports.

This might make for some interesting stories when Robinson talks to grads next May at Wheaton College.

One Comment leave one →
  1. remo permalink
    December 29, 2011 3:40 pm

    Cheers for the 1%. Dying newspaper empire will lay off dozens at the drop of a hat to save a million or two, yet they can always find the money to pay top executives who have done little or nothing to reverse the paper’s decline and eventual death.

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