The newspaper biz is already circling the drain in the digital age and due to the tough coronavirus economic time, but things may have just made employee relations a tad worse at the Tribune publishing company.
Several reporters at the Tribune Publishing group, which includes the Baltimore Sun, Hartford Courant, New York Daily News, Orlando Sentinel, and many other papers, claim on Twitter that someone at the front office played a cruel trick on the already “underpaid” and “mentally and financially” struggling reporters.
According to at least six Tribune Publishing reporters on Twitter, the newspaper’s reporters got an email offering “$5K-$10K bonuses.” One claimed that it was an obvious “phishing scam.” But it wasn’t so much that it was a phony raise – cruel enough – it was who sent the come-on that was so aggravating.
The Orlando Sentinel space reporter Caroline Glenn was as red as Mars when she found out that the fake bonus was a trick from Tribune Publishing. “Disgusting,” she fumed.
“Today, @tribpub journalists got an obvious phishing email announcing $5K-$10K bonuses. But here’s the twist. It was apparently a test from @tribpub itself. This, after @tribpub issued pay cuts & three weeks of unpaid furloughs to cut costs during the pandemic. Disgusting.”
This, after @tribpub issued pay cuts & three weeks of unpaid furloughs to cut costs during the pandemic.
— Caroline Glenn (@bycarolineglenn) September 23, 2020
Reporter Lisa Maria Garza raged that they couldn’t even get decent “office chairs and you dangle a fake bonus?”
Who approved this, @tribpub? Who decided it was more important to test employees on phishing scams than ensure they have the financial support needed to WFH providing nonstop coverage during this pandemic? We couldn’t even get our office chairs & you dangle a fake bonus?
They had plenty of company.
Baltimore Sun crime reporter Justin Fenton sent out screenshots of the come on and then what he represented as proof about who sent it.
Who approved this, @tribpub? Who decided it was more important to test employees on phishing scams than ensure they have the financial support needed to WFH providing nonstop coverage during this pandemic? We couldn't even get our office chairs & you dangle a fake bonus? https://t.co/qehBxCmmt5
— Lisa Maria Garza (@LMariaGarza) September 23, 2020
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Fenton couldn’t believe that the company would send out a fake phishing scam pretending there was a raise just to see if reporters were gullible enough to click on it.
“After slashing our staff, closing newsrooms, furloughing reporters and cutting pay during a pandemic, @tribpub thought a neat lil way to test our susceptibility to phishing was to send a spoof email announcing large bonuses. Fire everyone involved.”
Fenton clicked on the phishing scam, just like John Podesta was suspected of doing at the Democratic headquarters when the political party’s emails allegedly were hacked in 2016.
The Baltimore crime reporter says in a series of tweets that he knew it was a scam and uncovered the culprit who sent it: the Tribune Publishing Company.
And, as I said earlier, it was a terrible premise for such a test because no one would ever believe we were getting big bonuses from this company anyway!
Wow worst phishing scam ever, Tribune would never give us bonuses. Would’ve been better off asking me to wire money to Nigeria
The education reporter at the Sentinel tsk-tsked the company, “this is no way to treat employees.”
I’ve worked for Tribune for 5 yrs, received good reviews and 1 raise of <3%. I’m now paying more for utilities bc my living room is now my office. Now @tribpub wants to test me by trying 2 lure me into clicking on a link after promising a bonus. This is NO way to treat employees.
I've worked for Tribune for 5 yrs, received good reviews and 1 raise of <3%. I'm now paying more for utilities bc my living room is now my office. Now @tribpub wants to test me by trying 2 lure me into clicking on a link after promising a bonus. This is NO way to treat employees. https://t.co/PriMy2N00S
— Annie Martin (@reporterannie) September 23, 2020
Well, so far it’s a clean sweep of fans of the phishing scam program. Just kidding. Just like that raise.
The Tribune Publishing company reportedly apologized to its employees. I reached out for a comment, but the company leaders had their hands full catching spears from their own employees to reply before publication.