8 Big Media Companies That Still Drug-Test Their Employees

Employer-mandated drug tests aren’t very fun: You have to fill and handle a cup of your own body-warm urine so it can be tested for illicit substances—sometimes while being watched by a lab employee. While a healthy chunk of American employers still require prospective employees to piss in a plastic jar, the practice has largely fallen out of favor at mainstream media companies. Largely—but not entirely.

Did you know that The New York Times drug-tests its employees? Or The Washington Post? Or—as one former employee recently told us—The New York Daily News? We were surprised as well! So we began asking around, using the testimony of spokespeople (if they talked to us) and current or former employees (if they didn’t) to assemble the list below.

If we missed any companies, hop in below (or shoot us an email).

1. Cablevision

Includes Newsday and amNewYork

8 Big Media Companies That Still Drug-Test Their Employees

“I can confirm that both Newsday and amNewYork conduct pre-employment drug testing,” said Newsday spokesperson Lauren Andrich. Another spokesperson, Lisa Anselmo, said the papers’ parent company, Cablevision, had the same policy.

2. Gannett Communications

Includes USA Today, Arizona Republic, and Military Times newspapers

8 Big Media Companies That Still Drug-Test Their Employees

“Applicants are required to have personal transportation, a valid driver’s license and successfully complete a drug screening and background check.” — 2014 Gannett Communications job ad. Gannett didn’t return a request for comment.

3. Hearst Corporation

Includes Esquire, Elle, Houston Chronicle, and San Francisco Chronicle

8 Big Media Companies That Still Drug-Test Their Employees

“Drug testing is not a new policy within Hearst Newspapers and is among the best practice policies for many industries across the country for many reasons.” — Heart spokesperson in 2009. The company didn’t return a request for comment regarding present drug testing policies.

4. The Madison Square Garden Company

Includes MSG and MSG Plus*

8 Big Media Companies That Still Drug-Test Their Employees

MSG declined to comment on the record, but according to two former employees, the company requires employees to pass a drug test.

5. The McClatchy Company

Includes Miami Herald, Sacramento Bee, and Kansas City Star

8 Big Media Companies That Still Drug-Test Their Employees

“Yes. It is a condition of employment.” — McClatchy spokesperson Peter Tira.

6. The New York Daily News

8 Big Media Companies That Still Drug-Test Their Employees

A former Daily News employee writes in:

Mort Zuckerman is firmly stuck in the early 1990s, so I am not surprised the Daily News drug-tests all new employees. This is rather unfortunate, as I had to halt my enjoyment of marijuana for several weeks’ time.

The paper didn’t return a request for comment.

7. The New York Times

8 Big Media Companies That Still Drug-Test Their Employees

“Yes, prospective new employees are required to take a drug test.” — Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy.

8. The Washington Post

8 Big Media Companies That Still Drug-Test Their Employees

“Employer’s contracts are full of provisions that employees have to follow in order to work. I didn’t have the right to work at the Washington Post without taking a drug test.” — Former Post blogger Ezra Klein (December 2012). The Post didn’t return a request for comment.


(The companies listed above are those whose policies we were able to confirm with reasonable certainty. If we missed any, or if any policies have changed, let us know below or send us an email.)

* This post originally stated that Madison Square Garden Company operates Fuse. MSG signed a deal to sell Fuse in April, and we’re told the deal closed this week.

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

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