New York Times - Depressing, lifeless work environment | Glassdoor
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Helpful (16)

"Depressing, lifeless work environment"

StarStarStarStarStar
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Former Employee - Developer in New York, NY
Former Employee - Developer in New York, NY
Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

I worked at New York Times full-time (More than a year)

Pros

It's the New York Times, the paper of record, one of the great icons of New York and United States culture and history and still producing amazing journalism.

A pretty homogeneously politically liberal workplace, which is is not as easy to find in NYC as one might expect. Extremely PC. You will never hear an inappropriate joke, or any comment disrespectful to religion, race, gender, etc.

Extremely diverse, ethnically.

Pretty good bonus and 401k matching compared with other tech/media companies.

Three weeks vacation + three personal days.

Cons

Digital side is a highly individualistic atmosphere. Engineers are expected to make a name for themselves in hackathons, and I didn't observe sincere camaraderie between others or directed at me from any but a very few people during my time there.

There is a culture of overdesign and a love of the status quo, which means you will spend most of your time trying to maintain ridiculously complex systems.

Product decisions seem to be based on intuition rather than a careful analysis of data, which is perplexing due to the immensity of pageview and other usage data from the various platforms that is just lying around unused. The result is 200 engineers working on few know exactly what and having who knows what impact on the success of the business. In general, data analysis and data collection are not understood and not highly prioritized there.

The workspace itself is gray, dark, lifeless and depressing. Insist on a tour of the floor if you get an onsite interview.

There is no process (letter of warning, bad review, etc.) for termination. One day you will simply be informed your employment is over. I observed many totally unexpected terminations of hardworking and talented individuals and no explanation of any substance was ever provided. I've spoken with other former employees and the "ambush firing" is apparently standard practice there. So if you join the Times don't ever assume anything about the security of your job.

Advice to Management

Force engineering and product managers to make a data-driven case for any major new functionality or products.

Get rid of the innovation challenge or require teams to be much larger. As it is, it breeds internal competitiveness and overly individualized ambition (and rarely leads to a real product anyway). 100% day has similar problems. Require large teams for entry into any of the hackathon-ish activities there. (Also, stop trying so hard to be google without even knowing why you're doing so).

Encourage simpler architectures and maintainability in software design. DISCOURAGE OVERDESIGN and really, really audit for it. (Ask yourselves why NYT5 took so long.)

Discourage reinventing the wheel when there is a much better wheel than one you could ever hope to develop internally already available in open source form (or in a form costing far less than the equivalent developer time). And audit for it.

Hire a CTO who understands the tech industry has become the data industry, and that how the nytimes uses data and plans its data strategies is astronomically more important than which javascript framework is chosen.

Have a peek at the number of barely-used aws instances generating multi-thousand-dollar bills every month. AWS (as used by nyt) is not only a ridiculously cash-wasteful hosting model, but incurs a huge developer overhead when the unwieldiness of nimbul, the role system, and the convoluted hostnaming schemes are factored in. It's a horrible system and, at the very least, someone needs to conduct a thorough analysis of its costs and impacts on productivity.

Put some ephing supplies (and kleenex!) in the supply cabinets! Every previous and subsequent company I've worked for has provided snacks, drinks, and a bounty of other supplies and amenities. The times offices are totally barren.

Fix the elevator algorithm.

Other Employee Reviews for New York Times

  1. Helpful (1)

    "It was very good."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Developer in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Senior Developer in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at New York Times full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Relax Atmosphere, nice people, great office.

    Cons

    Less opportunities for growth, less challenging

    Advice to Management

    Care for your resources.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Stable company with opportunity to learn a lot providing reasonably good benefits."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Manager in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at New York Times full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Diverse set of employees and flexible work hours make this company attractive to any employee. The reputation of the newspaper and history is well known around the world. Barring normal exceptions, people are generally good to each other. There is ample opportunity to intermingle with colleagues. Play after hours and relax.

    Cons

    Limited growth potential. Too much hierarchical structure. Often managers are not competent. Sometimes projects are inundated by individuals ego and aspiration to prove your point rather than looking at the overall big picture.

    Advice to Management

    Reduce the number of managers and empower staff more.

There are newer employer reviews for New York Times
There are newer employer reviews for New York Times

See Most Recent

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