Here Are 9 More Media Companies That Test Employees for Drugs

Earlier this month, Gawker named eight big media companies that continue to screen prospective employees for drug consumption. This drew dozens of emails and hundreds of comments from working journalists willing to talk about their own company’s testing practices. It’s time to spill their secrets.

So who else tests? (You can read about the first eight companies here.)

9. Advance Publications

A spokesperson for Advance subsidiary Condé Nast told us in June that Condé employees are not tested. Employees in the conglomerate’s newspaper division, however, are tested.

A current employee explains:

I’m in the local New Jersey operation (the crown jewel!) and I can say that local reporters are definitely drug tested as a prerequisite for hiring, though we don’t get random screenings.

I don’t doubt that Conde Nast would have different rules, but I don’t have first-hand knowledge of it. Conde Nast is such a different world, sometimes I forget that the same guy who signs my paycheck signs Deborah Treisman’s (metaphorically, I guess). Any of the local guys in the empire, I’m fairly certain, will get drug tested. And if you’re in New Jersey, you definitely will.

Another current employee:

I work for a local newspaper as part of the Advance Digital Media Group. Perhaps they don’t test at Conde Nast. Advance digital media group is still one of the top ten digital organizations in the US, however. This was actually a very humbling experience for me when I took the job. I was treated (by a third party drug testing company) like a criminal and handled very rudely.

The company did not return a request for comment.

10. CBS (Corporate)

A spokesperson for CBS News (including 60 Minutes) told us that they do not drug-test employees. However, there appears to be a different policy for employees of CBS’s corporate divisions. A Gawker reader tells us:

I worked for FOX for three years and was never, ever drug tested. I can confirm their lack of a policy. However, being that I live in Los Angeles, I can tell you that CBS and Disney ABSOLUTELY drug test. I have lots of friends who have worked at both companies within the past 4 years, and every one had to take a drug test. ... Had several friends working at CBS HQ in Studio City who were tested, and everyone I know who worked at Disney were tested regularly.

CBS did not return a request for comment.

11. Comcast*

*Sort of. A current employee explains (bolding ours):

Official Comcast policy is that any employee is subject to testing. I have never been tested and do not know anyone who has been tested except someone who has been in an accident while operating a company vehicle. However, the fear of losing my very cushy job that I love has been enough to keep me on the relatively straight and narrow for 6+ years now, and one of my best friends opted to stop when he was up for a promotion just in case. Comcast policy in states with legalized pot supposedly follows the federal law—i.e., even if the state legalizes, still not ok under company policy.

A reader who was recently hired by Comcast subsidiary NBCUniversal says she was not screened for drugs. However another reader says she was tested when she was hired by Comcast’s corporate division a few years ago.

The company did not return a request for comment.

12. Disney (Corporate)

A spokesperson for Disney subsidiary ABC News told us that the network does not test employees. Like CBS—see comment above—a different policy seems to apply to corporate employees. The company’s college career page appears to confirm this:

To ensure a safe and healthy environment for our guests and cast, we are committed to maintaining a workplace that is free of the influences of drugs. For specific roles, an offer of employment is conditional based on a satisfactory result of a drug test result for illegal substances. The company also has a policy of drug and alcohol testing on a random basis or under other circumstances during the course of employment.

The company did not return a request for comment.

13. E. W. Scripps Company

A Gawker reader writes in:

The E.W. Scripps Co. of Cincinnati, which owns newspapers, TV stations and other media properties, most certainly drug tests prospective employees.

An account of the company’s hiring process posted on GlassDoor appears to confirm this.

The company did not return a request for comment.

14. NY1 / Time Warner Cable

A former employee writes in:

I am surprised NY1 was left off your list of companies that drug test. I worked there for a while a couple of years ago as a news writer. Among news professionals, it is WELL known that they drug test.

They are under the umbrella of Time Warner Cable, like they were when I was there. Don’t know if anything has changed since they renamed it “Time Warner Cable NY1 News,” but it was my understanding that it was the policy among the entire company, i.e. all the local stations owned by Time Warner Cable.

The company did not return a request for comment.

15. Scripps Networks

A former employee writes in:

Scripps Networks (Food Net, HGtV, DIY, Travel Channel, etc) tests staff. Not contractors or via production companies, neatly sidestepping the rampant drug use with most chefs.

The company declined to comment.

16. Sinclair Broadcast Group

From a current employee:

Does Sinclair count in this list? They have like 160 TV stations across the U.S. but are for the most part small-market (with some big areas like Baltimore, Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City). Either way, people who apply for jobs at Sinclair Broadcasting Group affiliates are required to pass a drug test before they’re hired.

The company confirmed the policy in an email to Gawker.

17. Tribune Company

A current employee at a Tribune newspaper writes in:

I am not authorized to talk about the company personally because I am just a minion. So if you quote me, please don’t use my name. But yeah, when I got the job [in 2013], my employment was contingent on whether I could pass my drug test.

Tribune controls the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Baltimore Sun, among other newspapers. A current LAT employee tells us:

I work on the editorial side at the LA Times. As of last year, all new hires were still required to pass a drug test. Interns, too.

Another former employee described an alarming tidbit from 2004 (bolding ours):

I failed a drug screen [at the Tribune Company]. I wasn’t fired but they basically made my life hell for two years. I also had to take one when I was hired. They stopped when Sam Zell took over because that goblin and his minion all smoked or used other drugs. I was under the impression they do now. ...

I know at the Trib it was a blanket policy because there were a lot of people on payroll who worked heavy machinery or drove trucks or other company vehicles. Even in editorial where I worked there were editorial pool cars. When I failed my piss test I was given because of a work-related injury, I had to agree to two years of random testing w/ 24-hours notice (that also included a breathalyzer each time, even at 7 a.m.) or lose my job. In hindsight, I should’ve just walked because that's a horrible company that puts out one horrible product after another, but I was young and poor and needed that shitty job.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.


To contact the author of this post, email trotter@gawker.com

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