OLD Media Moves

Media confusing public with compensation stories

March 29, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Dominic Jones, writing on his IRWebReport blog, argues that the business media, particularly the Associated Press biz desk, is confusing readers by reporting executive compensation numbers that are different than what is reported in proxies.

Dominic JonesJones wrote, “Take the Associated Press (AP), the most widely read news service in America, as an example. It has decided it’s not using the total compensation figures the SEC requires companies to report in their summary pay tables.

“Consequently, what AP is reporting in its stories to hundreds of mainstream news outlets around the country differs sharply from what investors are reading in SEC filings. The figures may be higher or lower, and it’s not exactly clear why, as I’ll explain in a moment.”

Later, Jones pointed out, “This entire situation is a mess, a shame, and as the British love to say, one giant cock-up for investors.

“I’m not taking sides here. I’m not qualified to say whose formula is the better one. But I am qualified to realize that having two sets of figures isn’t helpful. It breeds distrust. It makes something that is already discombobulating wrose.”

Read more here. AP deputy business editor Chuck Hawkins says Thursday that the wire service’s business columnist, Rachel Beck, is working on a piece about this issue.

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