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Methodology

To gather the information for this year’s salary article, our team of reporters took to the streets, phones, computers, and libraries. Every listing represents a real person, not an average or an estimate for a group of people. However, some interview subjects agreed to reveal their salaries only if we kept their names out of it. For those people, their job titles appear alone. Unless stated otherwise, all salaries are for 2008 and only for the job listed. Many people who appear on this list also earn money in other ways.

The data come from several sources: (1) Published reports. We’ve cited these sources in the list. (2) Public records. Tax filings such as 990 forms for not-for-profit agencies contain salary data for officers and high-salaried employees. Because organizations report these numbers several months after their fiscal years end, many of these salaries are one or two fiscal years old. (3) Freedom of Information Act requests. Governments are required to disclose the salaries of their employees and elected officials. (4) Nosy questions. About half the items in this list were obtained when a reporter simply asked a person point-blank for his or her salary. We double-checked these items by calling sources again before the issue went to print, but we didn’t ask for their 1040s. Our nosiness does have a limit.

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