Ben Smith of the New York Times profiles CNET and The Points Guy owner Red Ventures, which has a management style that some journalists don’t like.
Smith reports, “More troublingly, some reporters at The Points Guy, which also covers the travel industry in general (it has been a comprehensive source for information on where vaccinated Americans can travel), have complained that the new owners have eroded the already rickety wall between the site’s service journalism and the credit card sales that fund it.
“Red Ventures is ‘all about profit maximization,’ said JT Genter, who left the site more than a year ago. He and other Points Guy writers said they hadn’t been pushed to publish stories they found dubious — indeed, the site has occasionally offered carefully critical coverage of Chase and American Express, its dominant business partners. But he noted that Points Guy journalists are required to attend regular business meetings detailing how much money the site makes from credit card sales, which some take as a tacit suggestion to put their thumbs on the scale.
“Mr. Elias said Red Ventures has a ‘nonnegotiable line’ concerning the editorial independence of its sites, adding that he has given his cell number to CNET employees and instructed them to call him if they ever face pressure from the business side.”
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