Georgia Red & Black Publisher Made Enough Last Year to Buy a Hovercraft

Update: To his credit, Montevideo did recently request a drop in base salary to $90,000.  “In light of declining revenues over the past five years, I felt this was prudent and fair to both parties,” Montevideo said. “It is aligned with what others in similar college media operations, with similar length of service are being paid.”  The SPLC concurs with the latter statement.  He also says the $190,000 salary last year was higher than normal, in part based on what he says were “delays in receiving bonuses.”

The Red & Black at the University of Georgia is one of this country’s best and most innovative college media outlets.  As this blog’s archives and my freelance writing reveals, I am a sincerely huge fan of its investigative prowess, general editorial quality, and digital forward-thinking.  I’ve slightly gotten to know and greatly respect its recent and current student editors and editorial adviser Ed Morales.

All that written, I do think R&B publisher Harry Montevideo makes way too much money.  Among the many facts recently revealed during what will forever be known within college media circles as Red & Black & Blue week, one especially startling detail has many student press advisers and advocates abuzz: In his top dog role at the UGA paper, Montevideo pulled in almost $190,000 last year.

That is roughly a full fifth of the paper’s annual expenses.  It is also simply one heck of a sum for a person running a student paper.  I don’t know Montevideo at all.  I had no reason to think anything but great things about him prior to last week.  At the moment– post-staff-walkout and after the Grady Tackle-Gate incident— I’m honestly unsure what to think of his professional work.

But I do think he makes too much money.  Regardless of the amount of hours worked, skill-sets he possesses or accomplishments he can boast about, the $190,000 sum (even with $16,000 deferred compensation) strikes me as irresponsibly, almost corruptly, high.  I am willing to be swayed on this.  So please, email or comment away, politely.

From my perspective though, the number speaks for itself.  We live in a media world in which we rightfully criticize the professional elites who rake in crazy-high salaries, bonuses, and exit packages, while the masses in their newsrooms barely hang onto low-middle class.  I don’t believe a $190,000 student press position should be immune from similar dismay.

With that sum– of course not accounting for taxes– Montevideo can afford a new “130-hp, twin-cylinder liquid-cooled engine” hovercraft.

A strong leader for a news entity is fantastic.  Fair and even generous compensation for someone holding a position of great responsibility is a must.  But a single individual’s salary should not hover over a newspaper’s budget as prominently as this one– especially a student newspaper’s budget and especially during such a financially precarious time within journalism.

Related

Former Red & Black Staff ‘Excited for the Progress’ Made at Today’s Meeting with Board

Red & Black Publisher Tackles Reporter Attempting to Cover Meeting Between Board, Former Staff

Comments
3 Responses to “Georgia Red & Black Publisher Made Enough Last Year to Buy a Hovercraft”
  1. Bryan Murley says:

    I’m not going to try to explain how income tax and FICA withholdings work here, but let’s just say that the headline is uncalled for.

  2. Kate McCarty says:

    Enough about Harry’s salary already. I think you should disclose your own salary as you write this. As one of my college advising friends wrote to me last week, “I learned a long time ago that job security is related to making a low salary and having a job low enough that no one is envious.” I think there’s been a lot of cheap shotting with Harry. Missteps or no, we all make mistakes sometimes, and journalists shouldn’t be eating their own. Dan has credentials to earn him some credibility but most of this is self promotion. I’d reconsider running his columns if I were you, ACP.

  3. Dan says:

    Kate- I appreciate the comment. I can’t speak to other cheap shots of Harry. I do feel he was paid way too much last year though– not him personally but for a person in his position. You obviously disagree, which of course is perfectly valid. As I mention in the post, I’m willing to be swayed here. Outline your reasons for me. Truly, I’m curious. Just realize though, you would also then be arguing against Harry. He also feels he has been making too much and graciously accepted a smaller base salary. That is the one fact I wish I’d seen prior to penning this post.

    Otherwise, this is my blog. ACP sponsors it, but it’s my baby, so of course there’s some self promotion! I don’t feel there’s a ton though, but yes, most posts contain my voice, perspectives, as I clearly state. After all, it’s my blog! :)