CNET staff are unionizing, citing editorial independence and use of AI tools


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 reputable source for tech reviews, news and commerce. That’s why an overwhelming majority of us have 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 make a more collaborative workplace. 

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

Since Red Ventures acquired CNET in fall 2020, CNET media workers have been subjected to ongoing restructuring, cost-cutting austerity measures, shifting job roles and promotion freezes. In the past year, three major rounds of layoffs have deeply impacted our reporting and our teams. Red Ventures cut senior editorial positions, eliminated the Roadshow cars section, drastically slashed our video team, gutted our news division and shut down science and culture coverage. These unilateral overhauls created low morale and unease, resulting in a wave of resignations and talent attrition. We face a lack of transparency and accountability from management around performance evaluations, sponsored content and plans for artificial intelligence. We are concerned about the blurring of editorial and monetization strategies.  

By unionizing, we’re joining our peers at other digital media sites who have won security and benefits through negotiating unit-wide contracts. We feel that a union is the only way to guarantee job protections, defend editorial integrity and ensure standard cost-of-living raises as well as fair severance packages. A union would give us a voice on new AI and marketing initiatives and allow us to safeguard our workloads, bylines and careers. We look forward to bringing together our largely remote and siloed teams in this effort.

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

– CNET Media Workers Union

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