Time Inc. chief content officer Norman Pearlstine said on Wednesday that Sports Illustrated rating its online journalists on how beneficial they are to advertisers “is not a big deal”; he called it a controversy hyped by the Newspaper Guild.
The Guild has this response:
It’s not surprising that Time Inc. would try to spin its ‘advertiser relationship’ criterion as somehow not being about writers getting cozy with advertisers. And it’s quite possible Pearlstine’s subordinates haven’t given him the whole story, especially since he says he only found about the ranking system in the press.
But facts are facts. The ‘advertiser relationship’ criterion was indeed applied to seven Guild-represented Sports Illustrated magazine writers who had volunteered to work on SI.com, where the Guild does not otherwise represent employees. In return for their efforts, the seven volunteers were judged on criteria that they were never told about, that differed from the criteria used to judge their co-workers on Sports Illustrated magazine who did not volunteer for SI.com and that included how beneficial their work was to the ‘advertiser relationship.’ Two of those seven wound up getting laid off.