A few days ago Joanna Stern left Engadget. Today, Chris Ziegler left Engadget. In my previous post I discussed my affinity for the dynamic trio as I came to think of them: Joshua Topolsky, Paul Miller and Nilay Patel - who have also left in the last six weeks. One I didn’t mention was Ross Miller who left a day after Paul Miller. Whilst Ross wasn’t as much of a public figure as the trio was, he did make occasional appearances on podcasts and the Engadget Show (Episodes 8 &12) though I did enjoy his writing. Chris was a very serious character, fiercely determined to finish what he was saying and the point he was making despite others efforts to side-track him. Joanna Stern thus far (for me at least) was the most pleasing to the eye on the Engadget staff and an excellent tech writer (I particularly enjoyed her Blackberry editorial). These additional three writers are yet another big blow to Engadget.
Losing people from a company is a part of business. What’s happened and is continuing to happen at Engadget is a haemorrhaging of key writers, currently with no end in sight. Ross points towards the infamous “AOL Way” as part of his reason for leaving, however many of the others leaving specifically say that it emphatically isn’t the AOL Way and Joshua goes so far as to say Engadget isn’t subject to it in any way.
So what’s going on? Alas I have no inside knowledge, though I have seen mass exoduses like this before. I believe that as Engadget was growing a strong core of writers became good friends who enjoyed working with each other. Time went on and the workplace became bigger, more pressure and less focus on what they originally got into it for. The first two to depart mentioned in their blog that the AOL Way wasn’t part of Engadget and I suggest it was more the fear of what AOL might have in store for Engadget that was more the issue. After their departure the remaining group start to question why they aren’t considering leaving too. After a bit of soul searching they then decide to leave as well, and as each person leaves there is one less person to stick around for.
Engadget has become a tech news juggernaut - like it or not it can not be denied. Having said that they are just a tech blog, and their bloggers may decide to do what Ryan Block did a few years before and start their own, smaller tech site and start over.
I wish them all the very best in the future. As for what remains at Engadget, expect to see less posts and the posts you will see with a bit less polish for a while until they can begin to fill the gaps and start building up what’s left of their shattered team. Because Engadget is a good tech site, I also wish them all the best. Seriously.