Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 23rd Sep 2016 21:05 UTC
In the News

Well, file this in the "what the hell is going on" section. Chris Ziegler, long-time The Verge editor (and Engadget before that - he was part of the crew that started both Engadget and The Verge, if I'm not mistaken), had been missing from the site for a few months now - no posts, no tweets, nothing. Today, Nilay Patel revealed why.

First, Chris accepted a position at Apple. We wish him well.

Second, the circumstances of Chris' departure from The Verge raised ethical issues which are worth disclosing in the interests of transparency and respect for our audience. We're confident that there wasn't any material impact on our journalism from these issues, but they are still serious enough to merit disclosure.

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. 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.

So let me get this straight. One of The Verge's most prominent editors took a job at Apple - which is perfectly fine, we all change jobs - but then did not inform The Verge, continued to work for The Verge, then disappeared, still without informing The Verge, and then it took The Verge weeks to track him down and figure out what happened?

This story is completely bonkers, and I can assure you - this is not the whole story. According to John Gruber, Chris Ziegler is not listed in Apple's employee directory, and I personally have had this confirmed to me as well. Something really strange is going on here.

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The Verge
by WorknMan on Fri 23rd Sep 2016 21:57 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

I stopped reading The Verge quite awhile ago, after they posted an article accusing Clippy of being sexist, along with digital assistants like Siri. They had posted a lot of flambait articles in the past, but that was the last straw. After that, it was impossible for me to take them seriously anymore.

Edited 2016-09-23 21:57 UTC

Reply Score: 10

RE: The Verge
by gan17 on Fri 23rd Sep 2016 22:56 UTC in reply to "The Verge"
gan17 Member since:
2008-06-03

I just stopped because I found their site too heavy and cluttered. I honestly think all those Galaxy Notes exploded because the owners were reading the Verge while charging.

Funnily, I think I get linked to Verge articles on OSnews more than anywhere else these days.

Reply Score: 9

RE: The Verge
by tkeith on Sat 24th Sep 2016 12:42 UTC in reply to "The Verge"
tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01

Exactly, their content has gone downhill for quite a while. I know Thom loves linking to the verge and ars primarily. At least ars technica has decent articles now and then, the verge is just pure garbage now.

Reply Score: 6

Extra paychecks
by Alfman on Sat 24th Sep 2016 00:03 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

The official story probably omits a lot of what really happened.

It's a pretty good scam if the guy's intention was to keep the clock running after he left, just to collect extra paychecks.

Edited 2016-09-24 00:09 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Extra paychecks
by mistersoft on Sat 24th Sep 2016 09:15 UTC in reply to "Extra paychecks"
mistersoft Member since:
2011-01-05

so 40% that, 60% industrial espionage ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Extra paychecks
by Alfman on Sat 24th Sep 2016 15:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Extra paychecks"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

mistersoft,

so 40% that, 60% industrial espionage


Espionage against who?

Apple doesn't care about the verge, but the verge probably could learn a lot from an apple insider. I guess maybe this guy could be double crossing apple and this news was planted to give him credibility that he left his old employer.

Truly devious!

Edited 2016-09-24 15:25 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Extra paychecks
by mistersoft on Sat 24th Sep 2016 16:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Extra paychecks"
mistersoft Member since:
2011-01-05

..well exactly, some silly stuff like that.

I was of course being flippant ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Extra paychecks
by fmaxwell on Sat 24th Sep 2016 17:13 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Extra paychecks"
fmaxwell Member since:
2005-11-13

mistersoft,
Espionage against who?


Any tech company on which The Verge reported -- theoretically. For example, suppose Microsoft were to invite The Verge journalist to a press-only preview of the next generation of iPod killer in their Zune line, or maybe their next Windows Phone that would destroy the iPhone. If it was this guy, he could report back to Apple and warn them of the impending doom that this spelled for them.

This may have been going on a long time, perhaps explaining Apple's Siri, a blatant ripoff of Microsoft's advanced AI digital assistant Clippy ("Hey, it looks like you're writing a letter!").

Reply Score: 1

Comment by kurkosdr
by kurkosdr on Sat 24th Sep 2016 13:28 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

Alternative title: iVerge tries to hide the fact some of its staff are Cupertino's fluffers.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by kurkosdr
by fmaxwell on Sat 24th Sep 2016 17:43 UTC in reply to "Comment by kurkosdr"
fmaxwell Member since:
2005-11-13

Alternative title: iVerge tries to hide the fact some of its staff are Cupertino's fluffers.


Your conspiracy theory doesn't even make sense. The Verge self-reported this because the situation "raised ethical issues which are worth disclosing in the interests of transparency and respect for our audience.

The article went on to say that "Obviously having an Apple employee on The Verge staff is a conflict of interest. Vox Media Editorial Director Lockhart Steele stepped in to conduct an independent review of The Verge's work and staff interactions with Chris during the time he worked at Apple and Vox Media to determine if that conflict had manifested itself in any of our coverage or affected any of our editorial decisions."

Give the Apple-hater stuff a rest. Putting "i" in front of the name of every tech site that doesn't proclaim a loathing for Apple products isn't clever. The Verge reports positively on some Apple products for the same reason that they report positively on products from other companies -- because the products are good ones.

Edited 2016-09-24 17:45 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by kurkosdr
by Stephen! on Mon 26th Sep 2016 21:33 UTC in reply to "Comment by kurkosdr"
Stephen! Member since:
2007-11-24

Alternative title: iVerge tries to hide the fact some of its staff are Cupertino's fluffers.


Or the more obvious title:

"Chris Ziegler was on The Verge of leaving"

Reply Score: 2

Nothing to see here.
by Verenkeitin on Sat 24th Sep 2016 14:52 UTC
Verenkeitin
Member since:
2007-07-01

Guy disappears for a while and claims to now work for a secretive organization. What we have here is an episode of mental illness.

Decent thing to do would be to let the guy get his meds dialed in in private.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Nothing to see here.
by Morgan on Sun 25th Sep 2016 00:26 UTC in reply to "Nothing to see here."
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I don't know, according to Patel, they positively confirmed his employment status at Apple:

We ultimately terminated his employment at The Verge and Vox Media the same day we verified that he was employed at Apple.


Why would Patel say that if it wasn't true? It would only serve to make him and his website look bad if it came out later that it was all in Ziegler's head.

Reply Score: 2

Rather worrying trend
by emphyrio on Mon 26th Sep 2016 01:56 UTC
emphyrio
Member since:
2007-09-11

Imho journalist/reviewers/editors joining companies they were reporting on is quite a bad trend.

It is getting to the point that the following thought has to have entered some of these peoples minds when writing reviews/news/opinion pieces: what effect will this piece have on future job prospects at this company?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Rather worrying trend
by shotsman on Mon 26th Sep 2016 11:01 UTC in reply to "Rather worrying trend"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

Aren't they perfect for the PR dept?
Poacher turned Gamekeeper and all that?

All this is speculation really. Shouldn't we wait for a comment from him? Well perhaps not if the responsiveness of apple to Journo's call is anything to go by?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Rather worrying trend
by BallmerKnowsBest on Mon 26th Sep 2016 15:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Rather worrying trend"
BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

Aren't they perfect for the PR dept?
Poacher turned Gamekeeper and all that?

All this is speculation really. Shouldn't we wait for a comment from him? Well perhaps not if the responsiveness of apple to Journo's call is anything to go by?


Regardless of whatever explanation he eventually provides (if he provides one), that's still a damn big conflict of interest - and a huge ethical lapse for a journalist. It could also put him, and/or the Verge, in legal hot water if he wrote about Apple at that time and failed to disclose his status as a paid Apple employee.

Reply Score: 2