Hey everyone — there have been questions about Chris Ziegler and his absence from The Verge in the past few weeks. I want to provide answers for those who have been worried about him.
First, Chris accepted a position at Apple. We wish him well.
Second, the circumstances of Chris' departure from The Verge raised ethical issues which are worth disclosing in the interests of transparency and respect for our audience. We're confident that there wasn't any material impact on our journalism from these issues, but they are still serious enough to merit disclosure.
Chris began working for Apple in July, but didn't tell anyone at The Verge that he'd taken a new job until we discovered and verified his dual-employment in early September. Chris continued actively working at The Verge in July, but was not in contact with us through most of August and into September. During that period, in the dark and concerned for Chris, we made every effort to contact him and to offer him help if needed. We ultimately terminated his employment at The Verge and Vox Media the same day we verified that he was employed at Apple.
Obviously having an Apple employee on The Verge staff is a conflict of interest. Vox Media Editorial Director Lockhart Steele stepped in to conduct an independent review of The Verge's work and staff interactions with Chris during the time he worked at Apple and Vox Media to determine if that conflict had manifested itself in any of our coverage or affected any of our editorial decisions.
That review wrapped up this week. After interviews with more than a dozen Verge and Vox Media employees who worked closely with Chris, and a careful review of emails, Slack logs, and various login histories, Lockhart determined that Chris' conflict of interest did not have any impact on editorial decisions or journalism produced at The Verge or elsewhere in Vox Media. Chris did not attempt to steer any coverage towards or away from Apple, and any particular decisions he helped make had the same outcomes they would have had absent his involvement.
Chris only actively worked at The Verge while employed by Apple in July, and was almost entirely absent from our team in August, so we are confident that we've reviewed the situation thoroughly. But if it happens that we find new evidence of a story being influenced by Chris' conflict, we will add a disclaimer to that story and link back to this post in order to provide readers with further details.