Letters to Romenesko

A reader who asked be anonymous writes:

When Halifax took over the [Daytona Beach] News-Journal, employees were not given any extension or reprieve. The noncompete agreement was handed out with the many other “re-hire” docs and employees were given a few days to sign and return it, no exceptions. Those who objected were told if they didn’t sign, they would not be hired. Also, the news staff lost several top drawer people because of the nepotism policy. Salaries of new hires were slashed under the receivership during the Cox-Davidson court battle, but Halifax has continued that, and one can expect to get $30K or less, probably much less, for a reporting or copy editing job. All great ways to attract great talent!

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Also, Daily Kent Stater enterprise reporter Doug Brown thanked me in an email for posting the story about his investigation of an alum that resulted in Kent State University losing a $1 million gift. “I have been getting a bunch of emails from people who read it because of your link, including a couple who expressed interest in hiring me. That’s huge. Your blog’s readers have been great and encouraging.”

Comments

comments

2 comments
  1. Brian O'Connor said:

    I’m not sure what the Halifax nepotism policy is (mercifully, I don’t work there) but for many years Tribune Co. had a nationwide policy that pretty much banned husbands and wives from working in the same company, even if one was in editorial and the other was in marketing. It was eliminated after Illinois found the policy to violate equal employment laws, possibly (if memory serves) some kind of sex discrimination. Which is just to say, this policy, as stupid, cruel and ignorant as it is, may well be against the law in some states. I’d encourage Halifax workers faced with this issue to check with their state labor departments or a local labor lawyer before assuming it’s enforceable. I’d say the same is likely true of the noncompete – I honestly don’t see a newspaper taking a copy editor to court and I suspect (though I am not a lawyer) that kind of selective enforcement will eventually undermine the whole effort by Halifax.

  2. A. Nonymous said:

    It actually wasn’t a few days: Only 32.5 hours to review and sign to be exact. Those whom didn’t turn it in by the deadline, asked for an extension, or crossed out passages, such as the overly broad noncompete were not given a chance to reconsider. Halifax marked them down as having resigned. Many of us are surprised of how much attention this is all getting. No one encouraged us. Lawyers just said “Sign or don’t sign, but consider it binding if you sign.” Have you seen the journalism market, especially for non-recent j-school grads? That said, good on the new Halifax employees for standing up for their rights. If only we had. (Oh and expect much less than $30K starting out at Halifax.)