The top editor at Insider admitted to other bosses at the embattled news site that “I’m tired too” as a writer’s strike enters its second week — and suggested that they pace themselves as they continue to crank out stories to keep the site afloat.
In a Slack message reviewed by The Post, Editor-in-chief Nicholas Carlson — who has been forced to write 11 stories himself since the strike started — warned that the chaos “may last a little longer” as reporters continued to strike over wages, benefits and layoffs that claimed 10% of the workforce last month.
“I know you’re tired. I’m tired too,” Carlson wrote on Thursday morning to non-union staffers, which include editors and reporters based outside the US. “So I have an important message: we are exiting the ‘do this on adrenaline’ phase, and moving into a phase where we have to keep serving our audience, but in a way that it’s sustainable for you.”
“You can’t have an environment like that where people don’t take breaks,” Carlson added.
Sources said the message was in response to complaints from managers about the punishing workload, which includes churning out multiple stories a day, repurposing old stories — and in at least one case — publishing a rough draft of a reporter’s story in a desperate bid to keep web traffic from plummeting.
“It’s clear from what we’ve seen in Slack that the managers that are left are scrambling to make up the work that union members usually do,” said William Antonelli, tech reporter and shop steward for the NewsGuild of New York, said on the union’s behalf.
“The managers that I’ve spoken to have made it clear that they trust the union’s word much more than the company executives,” he added.
“Of course, it’s been challenging for our newsroom to keep up the pace as half our team isn’t working,” said an Insider spokesman. Thankfully, the other half is doing a spectacular job, so overall we’re fine. We miss those who are on strike, and hope to come to an agreement soon with the union.”
The lack of fresh copy has forced Insider CEO Henry Blodget to pen a few columns himself, tagging them with headlines like “Yes, you should have children, even in the face of climate change!” and “Thank you, Apple! Ignore the haters. Innovation is brave, inspiring, necessary, and cool.”
Meanwhile, Carlson, has also published a slew of stories since the strike kicked off, such as “Apple sure kicked Meta’s butt today, right?” and “FINALLY! Your iPhone will let you ‘ducking’ say exactly what you ‘ducking’ meant to say.”
The company has also repackaged old stories, giving them new headlines and some cosmetic updates, sources said, pointing to a story entitled: “13 TikTok media kit examples that creators use to get paid brand partnerships.”
“Insider management does not accept natural dips in traffic,” said one staffer. “No one seems to understand what the vision of the company is aside from ‘how many page views did you get?’
Earlier this week, investigative tech reporter Meghan Morris tweeted that editors at Insider published a story that had she had still been “drafting” without consulting her.
Morris, who is on strike, said the story wasn’t ready for publication and that she had yet to reach out to Starbucks, the subject of the story, for comment– a journalistic no-no.
“Because the Insider Union is on strike, I did not finish ‘drafting’ this story, including reaching out to my normal comms channel for comment. I’m horrified this story went out and urge you not to read it,” Morris tweeted.
The move sparked outrage from fellow reporters from a variety of publications, who blasted Insider’s management.
“Probably a journalist’s worst nightmare,” one fellow Insider reporter tweeted. “So sorry, Meghan, I hope readers don’t cross the picket line and your sources understand what happened.”