Wow. Via the Newspaper Guild, Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan has obtained an internal Time Inc. spreadsheet that was used to help decide which Sports Illustrated writers to lay off.
It is column “J” that is already reverberating across social media. The column is titled: ‘Produces content that [is] beneficial to advertisers:’
Anthony Napoli, a union representative with the Newspaper Guild, tells us: “Time Inc. actually laid off Sports Illustrated writers based on the criteria listed on that chart. Writers who may have high assessments for their writing ability, which is their job, were in fact terminated based on the fact the company believed their stories did not ‘produce content that is beneficial to advertiser relationships.'”
The Guild has filed an arbitration demand disputing the use of that and other criteria in the layoff decision-making process. In a letter to Time Inc., the Guild says that four writer-editors were laid off “out of seniority order” based on the rankings in the spreadsheet above.
In some senses, it’s probably a badge of honor to have a very low out-of-ten score in column J.
Among the early Gawker comment winners are an imagined Time Inc. memo from Jerry-Netherland and this astute Excel row observation:
ejs2000: I love that the writer who scored highest on that metric also tied for lowest on “quality of writing.”
Update (10:00 p.m.):
Sports Illustrated has issued the following statement:
[H/T: Andrew Beaujon] [Image via si.com]
“The Guild’s interpretation is misleading and takes one category out of context. The SI.com evaluation was conducted in response to the Guild’s requirement for our rationale for out of seniority layoffs. As such, it encompasses all of the natural considerations for digital media. It starts and ends with journalistic expertise, while including reach across all platforms and appeal to the marketplace. SI’s editorial content is uncompromised and speaks for itself.”