Do Magazine Organization Execs Deserve Their Salaries While the Industry Burns Around Them?

money09.29.08.jpgIn six days, the magazine world will decamp for the hilly streets of San Francisco to attend the 2008 American Magazine Conference. The event comes at a pivotal time for the magazine world, as ad pages fall and the industry struggles to reinvent itself. FishbowlNY will be there covering all the proceedings.

In the meantime, there’s some business about executive compensation to deal with. In his latest column in Publishing Executive, media expert Bo Sacks takes on the very organizations that put on the AMC, wondering whether execs deserve salaries approaching half a million dollars a year, especially when some are cutting staff. (The MPA hasn’t responded to a request for comment.) “Is there, or should there be, a correlation between compensation, results and revenue at any industry association,” the consultant asks.

He tries to answer is own question…

There are no stockholders expecting a financial return for their decisions and managerial oversight. This is a system of limited accountability that creates potential problems or sometimes just simple overcompensation — or, if not overcompensation, then compensation based on no real, measurable data, unless you use the state of the industry as the de facto guideline. And if association salaries were based on the industry’s condition, then we would see years of plenty followed by years of lean. But surely that’s not the case here, because we are in a time of lean, and yet association salaries remain extremely generous.

So basically, they probably shouldn’t be getting so much, but it’s not going to change anytime soon.

In other conference news, Sid Holt just struck gold, being named chief executive of the American Society of Magazine Editors.

And finally, on Wednesday mediabistro.com will run a So What Do You Do? interview with current ASME president David Willey. In it, he discusses the continued importance of the organization, changes in its role and highlights of the upcoming conference.