CNET staff unionize, citing editorial independence and use of AI tools

by The Insights

CNET has been a trusted authority for original reporting, helpful explainers, and honest advice for nearly 30 years. We — writers, editors, video producers, designers, and other content creators — are committed to CNET’s future as a trusted source for tech reviews, news, and commerce. That’s why an overwhelming majority of us formed the CNET Media Workers Union, affiliated with the Writers Guild of America, East. We are confident that our collective efforts will allow us to better serve our audience and create a more collaborative workplace.

The digital media landscape is changing rapidly. In this time of instability, our diverse content teams need industry-standard job protections, fair compensation, editorial independence, and a voice in decision-making. , especially as automated technology threatens our jobs and our reputation. A union will help us adapt to new business strategies while setting high journalistic standards and practices.

Since Red Ventures acquired CNET in the fall of 2020, CNET’s media workers have been subjected to continued restructuring, cost-cutting austerity measures, role change and a promotions freeze. Over the past year, three major rounds of layoffs have had a profound impact on our reporting and our teams. Red Ventures cut editorial leadership positions, eliminated the Roadshow car section, drastically reduced our video team, gutted our news division, and shut down science and cultural coverage. These one-sided reviews created low morale and unease, leading to a wave of resignations and talent attrition. We face a lack of transparency and accountability from management around performance reviews, sponsored content, and artificial intelligence plans. We are concerned about vague editorial and monetization strategies.

By unionizing, we join our peers at other digital media sites who have gained security and advantage by negotiating unit-wide contracts. We believe a union is the only way to ensure job protection, uphold editorial integrity, and ensure standard cost-of-living increases and fair severance packages. A union would give us a voice on new AI and marketing initiatives and allow us to protect our workloads, signings and careers. We look forward to bringing our largely isolated and siled teams together in this effort.

We are a passionate and loyal community of hard workers, and our rights must be enshrined and respected. We are asking Red Ventures to recognize our syndicate in a timely manner so that we can begin the contract negotiation process.

– CNET Media Workers Union

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