Cronkite to host contract info-session after Sinclair controversy

The Cronkite school will host a special 90-Minute Mastery April 20 to cover contracts and negotiations

It is important for students to understand what to expect when they are hired for their first job after college. That is why the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication is hosting a 90-Minute Mastery on Friday, April 20 to discuss the importance of understanding what is outlined in an employee contract.

According to the event description, the focus of the session will be on what students need to know before signing a contract, including negotiating terms and the time commitment a company is asking for. 

The panel will be moderated by Associate Dean of the Cronkite School Mark Lodato and will feature John Misner, former president and general manager of 12 News and Kristen Keogh, weather anchor and TV host at 12 News and in-game host for the Arizona Coyotes. 

Lodato said the mastery course is focused on helping students understand contracts and negotiations and the issues faced when moving into the professional world.

“We are talking about understanding contracts and other issues students face when they are graduating and moving into the media work force,” he said. “Because that can be challenging and there are a lot of things that come up, we want to make sure our students are leaving prepared.” 

A Cronkite alumna who worked at Sinclair publicly criticized the company for the contract it offered her, which had clauses she found predatory. 

“There was a lot of concern following the examination of Sinclair Broadcast Group which has been the focus of a lot of attention recently,” he said. “They — along with many other media companies — require employees to sign contracts as part of their employment. So we thought it would be a good topic to add to the schedule.”

Read More: Cronkite dean signs letter criticizing Sinclair after 'conversations' with company

He said that contracts can be difficult to understand and the school wants to make sure students know what to expect and how to make the decision on if they are interested in signing a contract. 

“They can use all of this information to make their own decision on whether or not it this is a contract they want to sign or a company that they want to work for," he said.

Lodato said there is a key set of details that graduates must consider when looking at a contract. 

“Graduates should want to know the length of the contract, how it renews, how the company can terminate the contract and if there is a way for the employee to terminate the contract, and how much it might cost for the workers to do so," he said.

Misner, formerly of 12 News, said the contract is the last part of the negotiations, so it it is important to know the details ahead of time. 

“The document itself is generally the last step in the conversation,” he said. “It is really important for students to understand the role itself and the location of the job.”  

Richard Rieves, a junior studying journalism, said understanding contracts is difficult and he wants to know how to read them so he knows what he is legally obligated to do. 

“The language in legal documents is hard to understand; I want to know the breakdown of what the document is saying before I commit to anything," he said.

Reach the reporter at or follow @therealsperez on Twitter. 

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