Why is Red Herring hiring five videographers for its already launched Red Herring TV? Because the current team, led by journalist Sean Wolfe, pictured here mid-interview, quit on publisher Alex Vieux. The mass resignation was prompted by another one of Vieux's tirades, but Wolfe and his colleagues also cited erratic pay and a decline in journalistic standards. Their claim: Vieux was trying to turn the video group into a production house for promotional clips custom-made for event sponsors. Anyone thinking about taking the video gig at Red Herring TV would do well to read their resignation letter:
The video team and I are departing collectively today, April 1. Our reasons are as follows:
a) With the exception of yesterday, late paychecks over the past quarter, and before, have resulted in bounced check fees, late rent fees, and other financial issues that have cost the team collectively thousands of dollars.
b) Management's failure to adequately inform the staff of late paychecks (ie, with sufficient notice to make alternate arrangements) has been consistent.
c) Utilizing video team members as assistants to interns is both demeaning, and not what they were hired to expect.
d Recent repackaging of videos as value-added bonuses to conference registration raises substantial conflict of interest issues — ie, pay-for-play, as opposed to the post-sales of rebroadcast rights, which was more ethically defensible.
e) The defaulting on dental insurance since last September has left team members owing thousands of dollars for dental treatments received during the uncovered period.
f) Promises on the part of management for additional equipment and resources have forced team members to spend out of pocket for supplies, repairs, and miscellaneous expenses which, in light of how tardy paychecks have been, have little chance of being reimbursed in a timely fashion.
g) Personal and profane attacks by the CEO against video team members for taking previously scheduled vacation time, including accusations of lying or dishonesty, threats of violence or termination, have been appreciated, and contribute to a hostile work atmosphere.
h) Ongoing financial difficulties (IRS woes, threats of eviction) have supplemented an already-challenging working atmosphere.
Finally, it appears the business is undergoing a significant change from being a media company to an events company that occasionally produces events-oriented media, typically in the form of promotion. When we were hired, individually, and collectively, it appeared that the Red Herring company was actively engaged in expanding its media reach. This fundamental change in orientation compromises journalistic ethics, and the kinds of programming we will likely be called upon to create in the near, and for the foreseeable future.
Over the past year, the video team has single-handedly constructed and manned a fully-functioning greenscreen studio, evolved live-broadcast capabilities, and produced more than 300 CEO, venture capitalist, and market leaders. We regret that this low-cost, high volume capability has not been better leveraged to realize revenue on behalf of the organization, without violating fundamental journalistic tenets.
Our resignations, collectively, and individually for Sean Wolfe, Anthony Nielsen, Ryan Velasquez, Jamie Yee, and Si Lee, are effective immediately.