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Axed weekly editor prevented from joining new magazine

A new magazine has been launched for a seaside town without the involvement of an axed weekly newspaper editor – after his former company delayed him working there.

Former Whitby Gazette editor Jon Stokoe was due to become a columnist for the monthly Whitby Mag, which has just been launched for the town.

But a ‘compromise agreement’ signed with Johnston Press means he is unable to start working for the title until October, six months after being made redundant from the regional publisher.

It is understood that after Jon’s involvement with the new magazine was revealed, he was contacted by JP warning him against breaking the agreement.

The free magazine has been founded by Kathy Finkel and has been delivered to 20,000 homes across Whitby and the surrounding villages.

She initially planned a print run of 15,000 but this was upped to 20,000 to ensure the areas it was delivered to were fully covered.

Kathy said: “I am delivering with a couple of people myself and we are getting good feedback from people.

“They like the fact that it is not just page after page of adverts. There’s an awful lot of written content in there. The people writing for me are all local people and there’s a lot of features in it.”

But she hit out at Johnston Press for preventing Jon’s immediate involvement with the magazine, where he will write a column each month about local events.

Said Kathy: “It is very disappointing. I can’t see this being a good business policy for Johnston Press because it just causes bad feeling, but there’s nothing I can do about it for the time being.

“Jon will be on board with us from October.”

The Whitby mag is supporting the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, with part of its profits going towards the local branch and further charity events planned.

Since leaving Johnston Press, Jon has also set up his own media and PR company, Stokoe Media.

Jon was made redundant from the Whitby Gazette despite the title posting a 2.1pc sales rise in the last ABC figures, when his role was combined with that of Scarborough News editor Ed Asquith.

Johnston Press declined to comment.

6 comments

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  • August 19, 2013 at 9:43 am
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    Am sure that in general we like to support journalists vs publishers, but who is the ‘bad guy’ here? This reads as if Jon Stooke signed a non-compete clause for six months when leaving, and JP simply reminded him of it when they saw his involvement with the new mag.

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  • August 19, 2013 at 9:43 am
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    This is hardly news! Everyone knows a Compromise Agreement is not the same as redundancy.

    John has accepted compensation for agreeing to leave the company rather than a redundancy payment after his job ended.

    He should have taken legal advice before signing anything.

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  • August 19, 2013 at 10:44 am
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    JP are clever – you receive little redundancy (capped at 20 years) which is boosted by your compromise agreement.

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  • August 19, 2013 at 11:27 am
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    Yet more publicity for Stokoe Media. Well done Jon.

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  • August 19, 2013 at 1:09 pm
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    Glad to see Jon will still have a presence in Whitby and I have no doubt this magazine will be a huge success.

    Looking forward to seeing the Gazette’s latest ABC a week on Wednesday.

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  • August 19, 2013 at 2:32 pm
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    Unsure why Jon Stokoe is prevented from working elsewhere when other JP compromise agreements specifically said the employee was discharged from the restrictive covenant in relation to the non-compete clause.

    Can JP do this for some employees and not others? As far as I know, this is the deal that has been negotiated for all NUJ members by the union lawyer.

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