Jerry Roberts, former editor at the Santa Barbara News-Press, will receive nearly $750,000 in compensation following a legal battle with the paper’s owner.
Roberts — who currently works as the Student Publications Director at UCSB — left the News-Press in 2006 along with several other editors, claiming owner Wendy McCaw had made unethical newsroom decisions. Legal motions followed between the two parties, with Roberts alleging he had been wrongfully terminated, while McCaw charged that Roberts was in breach of contract.
A state arbitrator ruled in favor of Roberts and stated that Ampersand Publishing, the owner of the Santa Barbara News-Press, must pay Roberts for legal fees incurred while defending himself against Ampersand’s claims.
The case was decided by a state arbitrator on Oct. 27, 2009. Court papers, however, were first revealed last week.
Roberts said the decision was a victory for ethical journalism.
“Ethics, not money, was always the issue for me,” Roberts said in a statement. “I am elated to finally be so fully vindicated, and I’m also glad to recover most of my family’s financial outlay for my defense.”
McCaw’s attorney has filed a motion to vacate the decision.
The arbitrator also ordered Ampersand to pay an additional $167,516 for arbitration costs, bringing the total amount owed by the company to $900,000.