The old 'church and state' relationship between advertising and editorial is a thing of the past but has Time Inc gone too far ranking its reporters based on their value to advertisers?
If you’re a writer at a cash-starved, advertiser-neglected publication that’s a shell of what it aspired to be 20 years ago, you know — good or bad — that you’re being judged on more than just your writing quality.
But usually, employers are more subtle about what exactly constitutes job performance than the good folks over at Time Inc.
Instead of quietly discussing how post popularity squared with writer quality and other factors, the company decided to put it all in a spreadsheet. Because if there’s one thing we know, those things never get leaked …
Thanks to Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan, we can see that the company recently assigned writers a rating from 2 to 10 in each of several categories, including productivity, writing quality, social media reach, and … a certain category in column J explicitly described as, “Produces content that [is] beneficial to advertiser relationship.”