Deputy editor at The Verge accepts job at Apple, doesn’t tell his employer, finally gets fired
They say that the time to drop bad news in politics is late on a Friday afternoon. Boy, did a few people do just that today! First, Ted Cruz, who had his wife insulted by Donald Trump, then went on stage of the Republican convention NOT to endorse Trump, endorsed Trump this afternoon. That must have hurt.
About an hour later the editor-in-chief of The Verge went online to tell readers why the website’s deputy editor, Chris Ziegler, had been radio silent lately. It turns out he had been working for Apple… while still collecting a check from The Verge.
“Chris began working for Apple in July, but didn’t tell anyone at The Verge that he’d taken a new job until we discovered and verified his dual-employment in early September,” said Nilay Patel. “Chris continued actively working at The Verge in July, but was not in contact with us through most of August and into September. During that period, in the dark and concerned for Chris, we made every effort to contact him and to offer him help if needed. We ultimately terminated his employment at The Verge and Vox Media the same day we verified that he was employed at Apple.”
OK… that must be a hell of a job Ziegler had. I mean, he is not heard from “through most of August and into September” and he is still employed?
As for Apple, what the hell are they doing? It is bad enough to be hiring members of the tech press, but to then do so in the same manner that the company acquires companies is really bad form.
“Obviously having an Apple employee on The Verge staff is a conflict of interest,” Patel wrote, in a bit of understatement.
Patel then says that The Verge conducted a review to see if there were any instances of editorial malfeasance, and concluded that everything was kosher. That doesn’t surprise me. It is likely that all this was about the code of silence that surrounds what Apple does and who they hire. But it is a code of silence that is the polar opposite of transparency.
starting a buddy system at digiday to notice if anyone goes missing
— Brian Morrissey (@bmorrissey) September 23, 2016
As for Chris Ziegler, what is he doing at Apple? If I had to guess, it probably has to do with the fact that Ziegler has managing The Verge’s car coverage.
Do I need to repeat what I’ve said for six years now? Apple needs a press liaison person. Someone that the press can go to when they need to navigate Apple’s press, development and App Store teams. The press team is hopeless, and has been that way for years, and the App Store team is behind a firewall.