“Get Wired” podcast staff contracts not renewed
The union that represents Wired staffers sent out the following announcement:
In late December, the production team behind the Get WIRED podcast, which launched in July, learned that their new contracts were not being renewed and that they were no longer employed by Conde Nast. The WIRED Union is angry and deeply saddened by Conde Nast Entertainment’s callous decision not to renew the contracts of our valued production colleagues. The six-person team lives with the painful uncertainty of whether or not their contracts would be renewed for several weeks, all while being asked to plan out the editorial future of the podcast for 2021. After their contracts technically expired on December 18, some members of the team heard nothing more from CNE, and were unceremoniously terminated on the week of Christmas after brief negotiations failed.
This is not an acceptable way to treat workers. And it is especially egregious given that the decision apparently rests entirely with Conde Nast Entertainment and not WIRED management, even though it fundamentally impacts a core WIRED property. Get WIRED’s host Lauren Goode is a WIRED staffer and Union member who has worked tirelessly to help build and shape the podcast. Additionally, WIRED management has provided crucial editorial oversight and support, and WIRED’s staff consistently contributed to and promoted Get Wired.
Regardless of the precarious contract employment position CNE put them in, the WIRED podcast producers were an in-house production team and deeply integrated into WIRED’s virtual newsroom. They joined our editorial meetings, formed close relationships with WIRED reporters and editors, and worked with WIRED staff through nights and weekends on time-sensitive projects.
To lose these committed colleagues and learn that the entire future of the podcast is uncertain makes no sense after Conde Nast Entertainment and Conde Nast executive leadership specifically declared a commitment to podcasting in 2020, and called on a few key magazines to make it a priority, which they did to great success. Now, it appears that Conde Nast’s leadership intends to outsource its podcasts, an unfortunate, brand-eroding pattern following the abrupt decisions last month to let go the Pitchfork and Vogue podcast teams, as well as CNE’s unilateral decision in April to lay off WIRED’s San Francisco-based team of brilliant video journalists.
These haphazard corporate-level decisions may be good for the bottom line short-term, but they endanger the editorial quality of WIRED’s journalism — a path that will always lose Conde Nast money and respect long term.