Santa Barbara

News-Press ordered to pay Jerry Roberts $748,000

Up in Santa Barbara, finally, some justice in the saga of News-Press owner Wendy McCaw. She forced out editor Jerry Roberts and most of his staff, tried to ruin his reputation — and then made him defend against her move to collect damages from him. An arbitrator has now rejected all of McCaw's claims, finding that her side's motive was to punish Roberts in "retaliation for speaking out about ethics at the paper," according to blogger Craig Smith. Roberts gets compensated for his legal fees and other costs, though his counter-claims against McCaw were also denied. McCaw's Ampersand Publishing also has to pay the costs of the arbitration, bringing its total tab to about $900,000. Her lawyer plans to seek overturning of the order. The order was entered in October but only became public now due to a court filing.

Roberts is now one of the co-editors of the politics blog CalBuzz. "Winning this long fight was possible only because I had such strong support from my family, from colleagues, from the community and from the news industry,” Roberts said through his lawyer. “I am deeply grateful to everyone who stood with me. The award is a decisive victory for ethical journalism.”

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