Media editor mocked after declining to reveal salary despite announcing new pay transparency series

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Insider EIC mocked for response to salary question (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Insider EIC mocked for response to salary question (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Insider’s editor-in-chief is being widely mocked after announcing the publication’s new salary transparency series, before declining to publicly share his own salary.

On Tuesday, global editor-in-chief Nicholas Carlson tweeted a link to an article titled: “Insider is launching a series that demystifies people’s salaries, and we need your help.”

According to the article, the publication is “seeking anonymous submissions” for its new series “Salary Journeys,” with the goal of the project to “create even more transparency as taboos around pay break down”.

Shortly after Carlson tweeted the link to the article, however, he received a response from Insider journalist Becky Peterson, who asked: “What is your salary, Nich?”

In response to Peterson’s inquiry, which Carlson described as a “fun question,” the editor-in-chief said that he would “rather not say” what he makes “for lots of practical reasons,” before going on to acknowledge that declining to share his salary “feels a little wimpy”.

“Fun question! I’d rather not say publicly for lots of practical reasons I’m sure you can imagine,” Carlson wrote. “This feels a little wimpy, but also prudent. I think I would submit it to some third party I could trust to keep it anonymous and average it with other people in roles like mine.”

The exchange has prompted both amused and disbelieving responses on Twitter, where people have called Carlson out for hypocrisy.

“This transparency seems really opaque,” one person tweeted, while another said: “Follow-up question: What’s your salary?”

Someone else joked that they couldn’t think of the reasons Carlson was referring to not to disclose his salary, writing: “I personally am unable to imagine those reasons so I think you can just tweet out the salary.”

“I cannot imagine why? Please, Nicholas, tell me what reason you could possibly have for not wanting me or your employees to know how much money you make. Please feel free to go into as much detail about those reasons as possible,” another person tweeted.

Others found the exchange especially amusing because the initial question was posed by an Insider employee, which some suggested made Carlson’s response worse considering the company’s push for salary transparency.

“And the funniest thing is that it’s his own employee asking him! Imagine claiming to be for pay transparency and not even telling your own employee,” one person wrote.

The specific wording Carlson used for the denial was also mocked, with many joking that they would be using the phrase “fun question” to refer to anything they did not wish to answer going forward.

“‘Fun question’ is so hilarious I’m gonna say it from now on about everything,” another user tweeted, while someone else said: “My boss: Why haven’t you done this yet? Me: Fun question!”

As of now, Carlson has not addressed the backlash over his response, nor publicly shared his salary.

In a statement to The Independent, an Insider spokesperson said: “Insider does not comment on the salaries of its staff. (Although we do include salary ranges in our job postings.) “Salary Journeys,” an upcoming series about job pay, will be revealing the salary of specific jobs. However, people who submit will be granted anonymity, out of respect for their right to privacy on the subject.”

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