Red Ventures to close local ZDNet operations

Business technology news website ZDNet – part of CNET Networks – has closed its Australian operations, leaving all remaining staff on gardening leave.

The news was broken on Twitter by freelance journalist and writer, Stilgherrian, who had worked on a freelance basis for ZDNet for 15 years.

The publication was previously owned by CBS Corporation, as part of its acquisition of CNET Networks in 2008, which saw the group organised under its CBS Interactive division. Following the CBS merger with Viacom to become ViacomCBS in 2019, ZDNet was sold to venture capitalist media company, Red Ventures in 2020.

ZDNet’s closure leaves all remaining Australian staff on gardening leave as Red Ventures works through its employee leave commitments.

“‘It was a really good newsroom,” Stilgherrian told Mumbrella, recalling that the site was known for reporting original content, rather than reposting press releases.

“It was properly firewalled from ad sales and you were meant to be doing real journalism,” he added.

Mumbrella understands that the publications local staff included APAC editor Chris Duckett, as well as at least one other journalist. Up until about a year ago the publication still had a team of several journalists, however the publication had been gradually declining in size and ambition for some time.

The publication has only posted one new story since the 1st of June, with the Australian staff have since been told officially that they had effectively been laid off.

Over the course of its history in Australia, ZDNet helped launch the careers of many successful journalists, including The Guardian’s Josh Taylor and The Sydney Morning Herald’s Ben Grubb.

The operations of CNET will not be affected, Mumbrella understands. The publication has recently undergone a visual transformation, in what may be a sign of increased investment in the success of the CNET platform.

Mumbrella has reached out to Red Ventures for comment.


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