The New York Post has seemed a tad overexcited about finally overtaking its nemesis, the New York Daily News, in circulation, and Post insiders think they know why. The rumor at the paper, according to sources, is that editor in chief Col Allan has a large incentive built into his contract—as much as $1 million—for beating the News. Asked about the $1 million figure, Allan, via a spokesman, replied, “That’s a fucking good idea, but it’s not true,” but declined to comment on the actual size of the bonus. Allan reportedly earns $600,000 a year.
There’s no doubt that winning the circulation race, and simultaneously becoming one of the five biggest U.S. dailies, is an accomplishment of huge significance for Allan—important enough that, according to one source, he takes it upon himself to personally edit all the paper’s stories on circulation. Beyond bragging rights, the claim to being the city’s top tabloid is potentially worth a fortune in advertising. By cutting the unprofitable Post‘s price from 50 cents to 25 cents in 2000, owner Rupert Murdoch has forsaken millions of dollars in circulation revenue in hopes that readership gains would lure the department stores and supermarkets who now make the News profitable.
But Allan may have yet another plan in mind: Some Post insiders believe the Australian-born editor will return to his native land once his payout arrives. An editor who has worked with him discounts that theory, however: “He has a ball being editor of the Post. Why would he leave? This is a guy who just loves being powerful.”