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ProPublica’s Top-Paid Employees All Made Six Figures in 2009

propublica08102010.pngAdd a fat paycheck (by the standards of today’s struggling journalism market, anyway) to the list of reasons why it’s awesome to work for ProPublica, the Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit investigative outfit.

Yesterday, the organization submitted its 2009 Form 990, a worksheet tax-exempt organizations must turn in to the IRS to determine compliance with tax laws. One of the things ProPublica disclosed was the wages of its highest-paid employees. (In its admirable pursuit of transparency, ProPublica posts documents related to its operations on its website.) ProPublica paid out $6.4 million in salaries, other compensation and employee benefits last year, up from $4 million in 2008. Each of the top eight employees raked in six figures, drawing down a total of $2.1 million in salary plus $181,181 in other compensation. President and editor in chief Paul Steiger made more than half a million!


• Paul Steiger, president and editor in chief, made $571,687 in salary, plus $13,430 in other compensation.

Richard Tofel, treasurer and secretary, made $320,978 in salary, plus $21,312 in other compensation.

Stephen Engelberg, managing editor, made $343,463, plus $31,231 in other compensation.

Dafna Linzer, senior reporter, made $205,455, plus $20,421 in other compensation.

Susan White, senior editor, made $160,011, plus $18,063 in other compensation.

Tracy Weber, senior reporter, made $176,309, plus $21,243 in other compensation.

Charles Ornstein, senior reporter, made $172,287, plus $26,805 in other compensation.

Thomas Miller, senior reporter, made $186,479, plus $28,676 in other compensation.

The spirit of volunteerism is confined mainly to the board of directors. Chairman Herb Sandler put in 2 hours a week and made $0, and board members Henry Louis Gates, Alberto Ibarguen, Mary Graham and Rebecca Rimel all made $0 for an hour of work a week.

Some other tidbits about ProPublica’s organizational structure: It employed 47 people in 2009, plus five volunteers.

Costs outpaced revenue, and the organization registered a $2 million loss, vs. a $2.4 million gain in 2008. Total revenue came in at $6.4 million, down from $8.6 million in 2008. Revenue from contributions and grants was $6.4 million, down from $8.5 million a year ago. Investment income fell to $4,356 from $26,926, while other revenue rose to $7,711 from $535.

On the cost side, ProPublica racked up $8.4 million in total expenses, up 38% from 2008, including $151,810 in fundraising expenses and $2.3 million in “other expenses.”

Total assets fell to $2.1 million from $4.1 million a year ago, and total liabilities rose to $336,034 from $315,815. The organziation’s net assets fell to $1.8 million from $3.8 million in 2008.

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