I think about this a lot, so apologies for a bit of a story time. I came on at Wirecutter super early, and stayed longer than most (when I left I was the longest serving full timer, or there abouts)
I never would have been hired at post-acquisition WC. My background was too wobbly, I'd never done anything big name, just some guy who knew a bit about cameras and had spent some time in the blog mines.
I got the gig because I knew someone who knew someone, and Brian and the WC team invested in me. They trained me on how to think, how to write, and how to approach everything with a critical eye (what they didn't train me on was managing, but that's a different story)
Brian and the folks knew that the sort of expertise that WC needs had to be fostered, because of how specialized and how *special* it was.
Post-acquisition, the byzantine and glacial NYTimes hiring process meant that people who would have been *great* at the roles never even got interviews due to them being stopped by weird requirements from HR folks doing screening who had no idea what the job needed
But the people we got? Just amazing. Folks who *wanted* to do this work, and wanted to help people. And rather than raise and help them into the skills they would need to take over our complicated and weirdo beats? They all got pushed out.
Management didn't think talent was worth fostering internally. They weren't mentored on topic matters. They were bounced from project to project. They were paid a *pittance*, and told explicitly that they wouldn't be internally promoted from jr roles.
So they left. And management hired new jr folks who they could pay pittance and then burn out.
So beat experts got burned out because they got no internal support. Young writers got burned out doing scut work with no internal support. Rather than train people, pay them well, and keep them around to do good work, the system just churned through them.
What was once a publication that had one of the lowest departure rates in the business became one that just started losing people so fast it became an internal joke.
And the people who remained became spread more and more thin, as those who left were never fully supported, and roles were not backfilled.
Also, when I left, they replaced my union role with a non-union almost identical one, which...
Most of these complaints are not unique to WC, and can be leveled more broadly at the whole media industry. But also, the whole industry is a monster that eats its children.
Rather than being a place that was better than that, WC management seemed committed to being a place that was just as bad if not worse. And using the prestige of the WC and NYT names to pull in good workers, without paying them what they deserve.
Oh also: required most jr workers to be in a big city and then paying them a pittance, so some were worked multiple jobs. Fucking l o l

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More from @tbarribeau

24 Nov
Funny story. Up until this year, Wirecutter staff couldn't join NYT all hands meetings. Someone at the NYT had to stream their Google Meet video of the meeting to a Zoom that we could watch. It was often compressed to the point where we couldn't make out what was on screen.
We were told it was "being worked on" for five years.

We didn't have access to any shared documents automatically, we had to request each one individually on a per person basis.
Read 4 tweets
23 Nov
Don't cross the picket line! Skip @wirecutter on their biggest days of the year to show them that it's the workers who matter!
Take that money that you felt morally weird spending on BF sales due to the way Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and Amazon all treat their workers, and instead pitch in to support @wirecutterunion workers who need to make up the lost income gofundme.com/f/support-stri…
@wirecutterunion What does a digital strike mean? It means don't click buy links from @WirecutterDeals and @wirecutter, which stops affiliate revenue from being sent to the @nytimes management's coffers...
Read 6 tweets

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