September 23, 2016

Chris Ziegler, a former founding editor at The Verge, was employed at Apple this summer while he worked for the tech and culture website, Verge Editor-in-Chief Nilay Patel announced in an open letter Friday.

Being employed at a company your newsroom covers regularly represents a clear conflict of interest, but Patel says Verge parent company Vox Media has undertaken a review of Ziegler’s work that turned up no evidence he tried to influence coverage.

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.

Ziegler began working for Apple in July, according to Patel, but didn’t tell editors about his new job for months, despite multiple efforts to get in touch. When they discovered Ziegler was working for Apple in September, they fired him.

During the period his employment at Apple overlapped with his tenure at The Verge, Ziegler didn’t have much of a hand in coverage, Patel said. He “was almost entirely absent from our team in August” and was only active at The Verge in July.

Still, Patel said, if evidence of conflicts of interest surface, The Verge will investigate.

Ziegler remains on The Verge’s masthead as a founding editor.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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