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Home / azpolicywonk / Bankruptcy filings show Tribune publisher earned $334,000 last year (access required)

Bankruptcy filings show Tribune publisher earned $334,000 last year (access required)

It’s a familiar story these days: Top executives reaping disproportionately large salaries and mind-boggling bonuses while executing poor business strategies and laying off hordes of employees. It’s happened in the finance industry, construction, automobile manufacturing, computer software and beyond. But now, we can count the newspaper industry among them.


  1. Great job Bunk! This whole thing makes me glad I got out when I did.

  2. She got paid more to move from Yuma than most everyone made in an entire year there.

  3. Thanks Matt!
    I think my relocation expenses were slightly lower than hers when I moved here 4 1/2 years ago. I’d have to go back and check the paperwork.
    I can’t recall if the U-haul was $400 or $40,000.

  4. Holy cow! And she keeps her job!

  5. Out of curiosity, do the bankruptcy filings show the earnings for the publishers of the other Freedom papers, namely Ahwatukee and the Daily News-Sun?

  6. Great reporting, Matt. Are you aware the Terry the Pirate got a $1 million-plus home after he was promoted for destroying the Tribune?
    Some people thought he was full of fire and brimstone. Others among us thought he was full of a lot more than that.
    He got his parachute and Moreno, who never had or will have a clue, is also safe.
    I can’t say that for the most talented group of journalists I ever worked with.

  7. Former Trib. Reporter

    Really great job Bunk! I was utterly sickened to hear what was happening behind the scenes while reporters were losing their jobs. In fact she was paid more to move to Phoenix than TWO reporters’ salaries. As a first year Trib. reporter I earned $27,000 and worked far more than 40 hours a week. At the time, I was happy to do it.

    It’s pathetically hypocritical that the Trib. wrote stories blasting companies whose bosses took large bonuses while hovering near bankruptcy itself.

    I’m glad to hear she will be rewarded for her failure. Congratulations to whichever paper is led by the illustrious Ms. Moreno:

    “In the end, hundreds of people will lose their jobs as a result of the Tribune’s demise. But Moreno is not one of them. She will continue on with Freedom in her executive role.”

  8. Why do all these stories claim that we can’t blame the publisher or Upper management for Newspapers problems?

    They are directly at fault for their lack of skill. They had no clue how to reach out to their community and keep it engaged. They kept going forward with a high fixed operating cost structure even when it made no sense at all. They paid themselves bonuses while they laid off large amounts of staff while the company kept bleeding money. They hired their buddies and gave them tons of ‘consultant’ money while laying off good people with good ideas.

    I think if anything these worthless Publishers and CEO’s are directly to blame! The families owners, employees and stockholders should be irate that they have such imbeciles running their company.

  9. Former Trib. Reporter

    Send Julie your thoughts anonymously by e-mail:

    [email protected]

    Password: moreno

  10. Why complain about Moreno accepting what the owners or board (which?) put on the table? Perhaps she was paid so handsomly (by my standards) because the owners knew they were closing down and this was a short-term offer and she was the “hatchet”. Don’t blame her; who approved the payments?

  11. “The porch light was on but no one was home” is only a slight exaggeration of the impression Julie Moreno made on a number of former Trib employees I know.

    There were moves that could have saved the Trib, but they should have been made years ago. Karen Wittmer’s fascination with all things Scottsdale was a huge impediment to long-term success. Those millions, had they been directed at blanketing the East Valley and the far East Valley might have produced a market dominance that could have re-established the Trib as a force in the area.

    We can all see what the Republic has done: token coverage, at best, of the many towns east of Rural Road. This juicy suburban area was wide open to be exploited by a set of smart managers. The Trib had some. What they didn’t have was a top management with any vision or yen for competition in the slightest. Freedom, like so many media companies any more, prefers to earn the easy money from markets where they are the only dog in the hunt. Colorado Springs, for instance.

    Who suffers? Everyone.

  12. Simply great reporting. You are to be commended, Mr. Bunk, for exposing the hypocrisy of these arrogant executives. But I have to disagree with “50Green” above. Blaming the former publisher (Wittmer)for having a Scottsdale presence and not capitalizing on the “far East Valley”? Really? That’s your take when all is said and done for the Tribune? C’mon. The Trib has suffered from little to no marketing and an identity crisis in just about every community it has covered, from Gilbert to Scottsdale. “The juicy suburban” far East Valley? Spoken like a true ad exec. Are you referring to Queen Creek and upper Pinal County — the foreclosure capital of the Valley? Or do you mean Gilbert, where retail is dwarfed by rooftops? Or is it Mesa’s “juicy” household demographic? No, had the paper focused on E.V. suburbs, you’d now be saying there should have been more state coverage or county coverage. Or less politics, or more lifestyle stories. No, the truth is the content has been just fine; it the managers — I suspect you are one of them — who failed to execute in the areas of circulation, advertising, marketing and customer service. And the paper’s many owners, while constantly changing the vision, never invested in letting the community know it was there.

  13. Excellent reporting Matt. Great job of sifting through the numbers that reflect nothing more than legalized theft.

    Clearly, Freedom’s high level execs, including Moreno, devised schemes in the past two years to loot the company’s coffers of all they could for personal benefit, as they knew bankruptcy would one day be inevitable.

    You see, after bankruptcy, none of these execs will be in control of the company, as lenders will be given the reigns. In fact, I would suspect most will be let go post bankruptcy.

    That’s why we see these numbers of excessive greed regarding monstrous unmerited bonuses. They are all taking everything they can before the lose their positions of power with Freedom.

  14. The story points out several points but fails to point out that prior to the arrival of Flanders, Horne, or Moreno the paper was losing money. It was in the red in circulation and advertising revenues were not keeping the margins where they needed to be.

    The metro model is broken. The margins at metros have been behind for decades but have been ignored because of “volume.” As new competition came to aleady cluttered markets and revenues dropped even more it became clear that companies should have sold their metro papers and moved to community papers only if they want a margin.

    While metros continue to close the community papers continue to turn in margins that their larger counterparts have not seen since the 1970’s!

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