The head of the parent company of the Pantagraph Newspaper in Bloomington received an 82% raise in a year the company posted a net loss of nearly $21 million. That $21 million corporate loss is actually a big improvement over the $147 million in red ink the previous year. Meanwhile, compensation for Lee Enterprises CEO Mary Junk rose from about $1.2 million to nearly $2.1 million, counting hefty bonuses, stock awards and retirement contributions. Company proxy statements indicate Junck did not even take all the bonus money the board approved for her, instead turning it over to other executives. Those corporate officers also received pay hikes ranging between 33% and 76%. It was an eventful year for Lee. The company cut its workforce by 563 people, or about 10%. Some of that reduction came from the sale of a couple newspapers, not just cuts. Lee entered and exited bankruptcy to rearrange its debt at higher interest rates. That debt is still $914 million. According to company filings, stockholders are under water by $146 million in equity. Lee's operating revenue dropped 2%. Weekday circulation declined 6%. Total advertising revenue fell 4%. Yet, Lee says its business markers are better than industry averages and it is paying off debt faster than required as it restructures in a digital age. The Iowa-based company owns 48 daily newspapers including the Pantagraph and several hundred other publications.
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