The New York Times has a bedbug problem. The Washington Post has roaches. And VICE (full disclosure) is going through a bit of a thing with flying ants and centipedes (or millipedes? Hard to say.) So what's with all the media bugs?
Per Slate, the entire Times newsroom (that's three whole floors) has been swept for bedbugs and staffers are "freaking out," in many ways, as a result. An email to staff identified three key locations where evidence of the bugs were found: "a wellness room (02E4-253) on the second floor, a couch on the third floor and a booth on the fourth floor." The email promises continual updates on the situation. "I have been plagued by phantom itches since we got the email on Monday," a Times staffer who wishes to remain anonymous told VICE. "The 'wellness room' was used as a nap room so this is a real punishment for anyone who was sleeping on the job. (It's more troubling for the moms who used it as a backup pump room though.)"
The Post's director of operations Jillian S. Jarrett sent a memo to the newsroom on August 14 divulging the cockroach issue and declaring, "we have a growing pest problem." "We have to do more to keep the bugs at bay," Jarrett added. She also offered up on-call cleaning services to the staffers and reminded them of the location of the Clorox wipes in the office. Meanwhile, the Daily Beast reported in July that when G/O Media moved into its new office in Times Square earlier this summer, employees discovered roaches in the space. "I never saw one firsthand, but I remember complaints about them," one G/O staffer told VICE on the condition of anonymity. "Not sure if that's been solved."
According to some boots on the ground in the VICE newsroom, one staffer (me) has killed two carpenter ants and one bug with more than six legs believed to be some kind of -pede creature in the past week, and the entire floor of our newsroom has been terrorized all summer by what appear to be genetically modified super flies whose size and girth defy logic. "Now I know this is a company-wide issue," Motherboard's Sam Cole told VICE. "Everyone is suffering from the bugs." More like LICE Media, am I right?
Infestations in digital media are nothing new. In 2017, Vox was overwhelmed by a swarm of bees outside its office. That's right, bees! What's next? Locusts in the Conde Nast cafeteria? Mosquitos in the Bustle offices? Or, god forbid, fruit flies at the Ringer? Are these insects a biblical sign that our at times unstable and increasingly toxic industry needs to be cleansed or punished? No. [Hits Juul] Maybe? In the meantime, if you're an employee of a media company currently grappling with bugs in your workplace, let us know. And please, someone call an exterminator.