The Nigerian Compass defends controversial pay-per-story policy

Nigerian Journalists at the burial of Ademola Fashola

The New Nigerian Compass and Weekend Compass will run on Mondays and Fridays respectively, with the publication going daily by September 2014.

The New Nigerian Compass has defended its controversial Pay-Per-Story policy for reporters stating that it was a way of moving the newly resuscitated newspaper forward.

The policy, which attaches correspondents’ Basic Travel Allowance, BTA, to the usage of their articles in the newspaper, was conveyed to the editorial staff in an e-mail from Segun Oyebolu, the company’s Managing Director.

The New Nigerian Compass and Weekend Compass will run on Mondays and Fridays respectively, with the publication going daily by September 2014.

According to Mr. Oyebolu’s e-mail, correspondents will be paid “N5,000 for every lead (front page story) submitted and published in any of the Compass titles; N2,000 for any good, event picture that is submitted and published in any of the Compass titles; N2,500 for any front page (minor) story with picture submitted and published in any of the Compass titles.

“N1,500 for any other story submitted and published in any of the Compass titles; N1,500 for any original cartoon submitted and published in any of the Compass titles; and N3,000 for every news video & audio clips used online.”

The payments, according to the company management, will be made on the 30th of every month to correspondents based on the number of published stories; and where more than one correspondent submits a story and the story is used, the allowance will be shared equally among the correspondents equally.

“By adopting the pay-per-story scheme, BTA is hereby cancelled except for
special projects as may be approved from time to time by the Publisher,” the e-mail added.

Responding to a PREMIUM TIMES enquiry on Saturday, Mr. Oyebolu, the company’s Managing Director, said that the policy only affects the correspondents’ Basic Travel Allowance, BTA, and not their salaries.

“We were talking about the BTA because we found out that we were paying people who go to their houses and stay, and then go to The Punch website, download a story and bring to the editor,” Mr. Oyebolu said.

“Nothing has affected their contract with Compass.

“Sometimes, the stories they (correspondents) bring are not even genuine. I can’t continue to run money down the drain,” Mr. Oyebolu added.

The MD’s e-mail also noted that stories that do not meet deadlines will not be used in the newspaper.

“Please note that payment under the pay-per-story is not tied to advert or
any other condition – once your story is published, it will immediately
queued for payment at month end,” Mr. Oyebolu’s e-mail to staff added.

Some of the staff who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES under anonymity claimed that their contracts stipulate that each reporter files a minimum of 20 stories per month and brings two full pages of adverts for the newspaper.

The staff further claimed that their June salary remains unpaid despite that the company directed them to resume on June 2; and, also, iPads given to editors were retrieved just before Mr. Oyebolu’s e-mail, apparently to prevent them from walking away with the gadgets.

Mr. Oyebolu dismissed the claims that the iPads were retrieved from his editors saying that they were going to be inscribed upon.

“There is no law that states that our properties cannot be inscribed upon,” he said.

On the issue of tying staff emoluments to advert placements and non-payment of June salary, Mr. Oyebolu said that was “a private affair.”

“You can’t ask me that question because if there’s a contract between two parties, you cannot go about talking about that,” he said.

“If you are offered a contract, you can say you can or you cannot do it. They are adults.”

Mr. Oyebolu frowned at what he described as the staff’s inability to understand the contract they signed with the company.

“A situation where people who are supposed to enlighten the nation cannot even read,” he added.


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