Post to Reward Top Staffers—Let Them Eat Popcorn

By: Harry Jaffe

Attaboys are hard to come by in most newsrooms. Writers have come to expect the standard “What have you done for me lately?” reaction from editors.

Now the Washington Post has come up with a surefire way to make its employees know they are valued cogs in the wheel of news production. Gary Corso, director of administration and operating services at the paper of Watergate fame, this week authored the following memo:

“The Northwest cafeteria Coffee Cart is offering Post managers an opportunity to reward their employees with tickets for either a free box of popcorn or a free 16-ounce regular coffee. Tickets must be purchased in sheets of ten and can only be redeemed at the Northwest Coffee cart. The price is $11.00 for ten popcorn tickets and $15.50 for ten 16 oz. regular coffee tickets. (Taxes are included)

Reaction to the new rewards policy was swift. On the Post’s internal message board, one staffer recommended that the popcorn system be incorporated by the newspaper guild:

NEW CONTRACT ANNOUNCED

The Newspaper Guild today announced they have reached a new agreement with the Washington Post that will have the company’s employees paid in popcorn kernels rather than dollars. Under the groundbreaking agreement, employees will receive a kernal-for-dollar equivalent starting next month. Direct deposits will no longer be available, however paychecks can be picked up popped or unpopped.

NEW CONTRACT ANNOUNCED

The Newspaper Guild today announced they have revoked their recently-reached agreement with the Washington Post to pay employees in popcorn kernels in favor of a new contract that requires employees to work for free. The Guild touted the contract’s key provision—a two-for-one 12-ounce ale coupon for the Dogfish Head Alehouse opening soon in Falls Church.

The Washingtonian expects that newspapers across the nation will examine the Post’s landmark reward system to see if it can reduce newsroom costs.