Beyond his own salary, Newsday’s Investigations Editor Matt Doig is known for his “spare no expense” approach to fund his brand of tabloid journalism. Doig developed his free spending habit while on the job at The Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Doig’s reputation at the Southwestern Florida paper was a very expensive one. “Matt went a little heavy on the company’s expense account, but that’s just in his nature” said a friend of Doig’s and someone who still works for the Herald-Tribune.
At Newsday, the free-spending Doig reportedly exceeded every budget the company set for him. When given a choice, Doig almost always opts for the most costly choice.
If no one else, Doig is at least loved by his staff of such as Tania Lopez, Will Van Zant and Keith Herbert, all who have expensive tastes. The staff was thrilled when the Long Island daily acquired Doig in May of 2012. His staff has quadrupled since arriving and they had a much more liberal approach to the finances than any of the other crews. The “scandal-a-week” idea was reportedly Doug’s and Doig’s alone, but for some reason publisher Gordon McLeod turned a blind eye to Doig’s penchant to spend, spend, spend. The problem is that the new regime’s philosophy is in direct opposition to Matt Doig’s where the thought is to cut, cut, cut.
The flowing river of money coming from the so-called “Doig Disaster” which refers to his hiring in 2012 doesn’t stop at the Investigations Department. It’s been very taxing on the Long Island public. A “scandal-a-week” means that government agencies such as the U.S. Attorney, NY Attorney General and the Nassau and Suffolk Counties need to at least look at Newsday’s targeted stories. Even Doig’s harshest critics won’t suggest that corrupt politicians, unscrupulous business practices and even rouge law enforcement officials shouldn’t be taken to task. The issue at hand is that Doig’s methods call for extreme exaggeration and puffery in order to justify his extraordinary spending, and to give the illusion of a crime being committed without actually saying it (that would be libel.)
McLeod’s appeasement of this probably stems from desperation rather than total agreement. Doig proved to be a master salesman, when he led the tabloid down this road because the paper was already in deep financial trouble. Chief Editor Deb Henley also banked on the sensationalism leading to readership, which would in return possibly lead to ad and sales revenue. Of course none of this happened. The readers tuned out and sales and revenues plummeted.
Doig, through expensive assets like self-proclaimed “gotcha reporters” Sandra Peddie, Tania Lopez or Gus Garcia-Roberts (see story below) would churn out a droning five-page cover story about nothing. The end result being a costly investigation over time card disputes, or typical, albeit sleazy, back room politics.
Now we come to a crossroads. Matt Doig in one corner with three years of complete failure with unimaginable expenses, facing the staff of new Cablevision owner Patrick Drahi. Drahi has earned a host of colorful nicknames for ruthlessly cutting costs at new acquisitions.
Mr. Doig, meet Chainsaw Al…good luck, Matt!