Vice Media boss and enthusiastic brand ambassador Shane Smith yesterday publicly derided the "sour grapes" of also-ran website Gawker.com, declaring that his company's average salary is very high. Let's explore that further.
Smith became even more bullish over criticisms leveled at his company, especially from the likes of Gawker, which has consistently knocked the company for reportedly paying low wages and editing for advertisers.
"I would ask you to look at the source, and there's only one source for that, and why that question keeps coming up. It's because it's f—ing Gawker having sour grapes at being an also-ran," Smith said, adding that their average salary is $71,000 and their average age is 24.
It's fucking Gawker, Smith said, referring to our earlier reporting on Vice Media's notoriously low pay, which consisted of testimonials from former and current Vice Media employees. What does it mean exactly to say that his company's "average" salary is $71,000 and their average age is 24? We asked Vice's spokesman for clarity.
He told us that the company's average age is actually 26, and the "average salary" is $70,000. How was that average salary calculated? He said that it includes the entire company—the editorial people, as well as the more highly paid in-house advertising agency people, and television people, and marketing people, and everyone else—but "not the executives." Neither this information, nor Vice's earlier response, "VICE to Gawker: Fuck You and Fuck Your Garbage Click-Bait 'Journalism'," contradict our earlier reporting. We could not get a list of who exactly was included in "the executives," but presumably it rules out the immediate response we got from one Vice editorial employee when they heard the $71K figure: "yeah, maybe if they include Shane's salary."
The company would not tell us what the average editorial salary is, or what the median salary is (meaning the midpoint salary, not the average of all salaries put together). We all sincerely hope that Vice's good fortunes will benefit even its lowliest staffers.
As always, any Vice Media employees who would like to share are welcome to email Hamilton@Gawker.com. Any Vice Media PR people who would like to share information on competing news organizations' salaries in order to further establish the relative generosity of Vice Media are also welcome to email Hamilton@Gawker.com.