First came the news that the ex-New York Times Regional Media Group employees would not have to sign the noncompete agreement issued by new owners Halifax Media Holdings by yesterday’s deadline.
This came after many journalists cried foul about the excessive restrictions in the agreement, which would have prohibited employees from working for any kind of media property for two years in any state in which Halifax did business, no matter why the employee left Halifax.
Then, the non-compete clause was scrapped entirely, Jim Romenesko and Poynter both report.
At a staff meeting at the Lakeland (Fla.) Ledger, “employees were told to tear up” the agreement, says Poynter.
At the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, publisher Diane McFarlin sent an email telling employees they’d been grandfathered in.
New hires will still be subjected to the noncompete restrictions. Halifax CEO Michael Redding put it this way, according to a Romenesko tipster:
“‘We want to pour money into your career,’ Redding said, ‘and as you get better, what we are not interested in is you becoming our competition. We want you to have long careers . . . and I’m sure many of you have been here 10, 20 years.'”
Redding also confirmed, according to the same tipster, that not everyone will be getting a job offer, and that all who do get offers will be on a 60-day probation period.
Still, good news for journalists who don’t want to sign all their legal rights away.