You should know that the original version of this article has been taken down following a cease and desist demand from GateHouse Media.
I was the executive editor at the Sun Journal until October 2017, when I resigned for personal and professional reasons.
Once I discovered that at least one Sun Journal telemarketer was misrepresenting the circumstances of my departure from the company, I posted my resignation letter along with a memo I wrote just prior to my resignation. A short time later, GateHouse Media sent me a cease and desist demand, which I present here in its entirety:
December 14, 2017
Mr. Randy Foster
Re: Your Legal Obligation to GateHouse Media, LLC
Dear Mr. Foster:
I am General Counsel of GateHouse Media, Inc. (“GateHouse”). GateHouse Media is the ultimate parent of the publisher of the New Bern Sun Journal (“New Bern”). I write to remind you of your continuing legal obligations to GateHouse under State and Federal law.
While you were employed by GateHouse, you were given access to unique, confidential, and proprietary business information including information regarding management options for potential layoffs. It has come to our attention that you are publishing such information on your personal blog – http://newbempost.com/myside. Under State and Federal law, the use of such confidential and proprietary information in this manner is prohibited. Further, State and Federal law dictate that you not disclose such confidential and proprietary information to anyone, or use such information for your own benefit or the benefit of others.
To the extent that you are using such information, we request that you immediately cease and desist from such use. Should GateHouse discover that this practice is continuing we will seek an injunction against and damages from all appropriate parties for such misuse.
We certainly trust and expect that you will fully comply with your obligations to GateHouse under State and Federal law, and that no legal action by GateHouse to protect its rights will be necessary. This letter sets forth our position on the matters contained herein and should not be deemed to restrict, prejudice, waive or limit any of our rights or remedies under contract, at law or in equity.
Very Truly Yours,
Polly Granfield Sack
Sr. Vice President, Secretary And General Counsel
I responded that I complied with their demand and took the memos offline, but made a cease and desist demand of my own:
Dear Mrs. Sack:
I am sole owner and operator of the local news website, NewBernPost.com, and a former GateHouse Media employee. I have complied with your cease and desist request in your Dec. 14 letter to me. I removed the article from public access on the evening of Dec. 14, along with social media links to the referenced. It will remain offline while I discuss the matter with my lawyer.
Meanwhile, I am requesting that GateHouse Media and Coastal ENC Group, their officers and representatives, cease and desist from misrepresenting the reason for my resignation from GateHouse Media, and cease and desist from disseminating private personnel records and information about me in violation of state and federal laws and your own company policy.
I expect a timely reply in which you explain steps that will be taking to satisfy my requests. Should I discover that this practice is continuing, I will seek an injunction against and damages from all appropriate parties for such misuse.
I certainly trust and expect that you will fully comply with your obligations to me under state and federal law and GateHouse Media policies, and that no legal action by me to protect my rights will be necessary. This letter sets forth my position on the matters contained herein and should not be deemed to restrict, prejudice, waive or limit any of my rights or remedies under contract, at law or in equity.
Very Truly Yours,
Good on you, Randy. And thanks for the transparency. Principles like yours are in short supply in today’s workplace.
I recall a few months back counting the SJ stories that were were both local AND current and finding few, if any. Other days it seemed like half the paper was written by Bill Hand (who surely deserves a good salary). Having said that, there were also many story redundancies in my N&O… mostly from the AP and other services… which made me consider canceling the Raleigh paper. Ultimately I kept both as I hoped for an increase in New Bern content but also valued the (more rational) opinion page content of the N&O.
Best of luck with the apparently free freelance gig.
We need your reportage in New Bern; it is of a bigger market ethos.
Wow Randy. Thanks for the enlightening information. I had came aboard just before Freedom (wonderful company) sold out. As time passed, I saw how every three months we’re layoffs. It is really strange how only one black person remain. I guess ratios doesn’t matter too much anymore. Anyway, after 10 years there, I had the privilege of working with you, and thought much of you. I only wonder what happened behind those closed doors. My work was great… I thought. Any info about that? Just thought I would ask.
Hi Frank. I can personally attest to the ethical standards of Randy Foster and believe he is doing more than just being a good citizen. I believe he is modeling the way forward. WE must get involved. Divvy up the meetings among willing residents and engage in community journalism. The internet gives everyone an opportunity to capture and share information that benefits others. Give it some thought. Where can you make a difference (more than you are already?)
Appreciate your thoughts, Vanna,and you are correct on all counts.
Holy crap! I think that would have been the one time I would have been silenced is if I heard that, and I did hear some things about myself that I cringed at when I left. But this whole situation seems to be getting worse. For what it’s worth, we did some kick ass journalism and you had my back. Remember what you told me when things got hard for you while marching, keep your eyes on the boots moving in front of you. It WILL work out. And please let your lovely wife know I miss talking to her!
Seems clear enough that it was your decision. Apparently their commitment to truth stops at their front door.