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'Hello. I'm your new boss. I'm a jerk'

January 10, 2012 - Harry Eagar
Poynter (an aggregator of bad news for newspaper workers) reports that the New York Times Corp. is selling some regional newspapers to something called Halifax, an outfit I don't know.

Despite the alleged sad condition of the newspaper business, Halifax is coughing up around $10 mil per paper.

It introduced itself to its new employees by saying that they had hours to sign non-compete agreements or be fired.

As a business reporter, I have encountered some really stupid management decisions over the years, but this may be the all-time champ.

I suppose it's too much to hope that every one of them quits.

Not all newspaper owners are such stupid jerks, I'm happy to say. When I arrived at The Maui News, almost 25 years ago, Colin Cameron walked up to me at my new desk, stuck out his hand and said, "Hi, I'm Colin Cameron. I'm the publisher. You write what you want."

And he walked away.

Boy, was my starting morale ever good!

UPDATE: Dumb and dumber

Poynter today (Wednesday) provides links to a memo to bought employees that they do not have to sign Halifax's ridiculous (and apparently illegal in some states) non-compete clause. But new employees will be required to.

That is, to take a job with Halifax, you have to agree that, if Halifax decides to fire you, justly or otherwise, you cannot look for a new job.

Times are desperate, and not only in the newspaper business, but who would agree to that?

Next time some rightwing dingbat bleats on about "job creators," think of Halifax.


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