Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Contracts: How long is too long?

Most of you probably got out of college having absolutely no knowledge of contracts, things like "out clauses" or terms like "liquidated damages." Unfortunately that left some of you stuck with iron-clad deals that trap you in small markets for a ridiculous amount of time.

When I hear of rookies being forced to sign three year deals, it makes me angry. Because there's no way anyone with any sort of talent needs three years at an entry level station.

Then I hear of reporters being offered, get this, four year deals for second jobs. Have people lost their minds? Do they really expect anyone to sign something like this?

Bottom line, if you're hunting for your first job, don't sign anything longer than two years. For any other job, if the contract is longer than two years it had better have an out clause.

Different rules apply for anchors, as longer contracts are needed for the station to promote stability on the anchor desk. But if you're a young reporter, there's no need to sign your life away for three years or longer.

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