Issue 288,  published January 12, 2021

Former Conde Nast Producers Publish Open Letter

Big week for letters.

This morning (as in, just a few minute ago), a group of audio producers formerly employed by Condé Nast published an open letter sharing their experiences working for — and then getting laid off by — the media publishing group, which they characterize as having mismanaged the team.

The letter begins:

In the summer of 2020, Condé Nast launched Condé Nast Audio with a slate of flagship podcasts planned for WIRED, Vogue, and Pitchfork. We are the producers, editors, and engineers who worked to develop, pilot, and produce these shows from start to finish.

As of January 2021, not a single one of us still works for Condé Nast.

We’re writing this open letter for two reasons. First, we hope companies investing in audio will learn from the mistakes of Condé Nast’s mismanagement. Second, we want people who work in audio to understand how the executives currently responsible for audio at Condé Nast Entertainment (or CNE, the magazine conglomerate’s internal studio) might treat them.

It went on to illustrate operating tensions between the assembled Condé Nast Audio team and Condé Nast execs throughout the organization’s short-lived effort to produce a slate of flagship podcasts for its various media brands. As a whole, the letter paints a picture of a management structure that did not sufficiently understand what’s needed in an effort to build out a working audio operation, which in turn resulted in a scenario where the hired producers were undervalued, under-resourced, and ultimately disposable, given the fact that they were all laid off from the company.

You can read the full letter here.

I run this thing.