Ian Sherr
5 min readMar 3, 2023


I won’t bury the lede: I was laid off from CNET. My last official day is in a week and a half, but you won’t see my byline on any new stories there anymore.

I’m heartbroken it was so abrupt. I’m told that’s how good things often go.

While I have your attention, can I share a story with you?

It’s about how I ended up in an awesome job with amazing colleagues, telling some of the most ambitious and fascinating stories I’d ever heard.

It starts with advice I got one day when I was young and frustrated in a job that I felt was stuck in neutral. A mentor told me that one of the most underrated parts of job satisfaction is who you’re working with. Find the right people, that mentor said, and you’ll do great things together.

Connie Guglielmo ended up on my list of “people I’d want to work with” early in my career. We’d known each other from covering the Apple beat, where she regularly wiped the floor with me as her competitor. But what struck me was who she was in person. Even though we weren’t working for the same publication, each time we chatted, she made me feel like we were on the same team. A kickass reporter who’s also a good human being was a no-brainer ideal person to work with some day.

By the time she was named Editor-in-Chief of CNET’s news team, other people on my list were there too. There was Roger Cheng, who’d become a partner in crime while we were in the trenches at Dow Jones, covering the early years of the iPhone and wireless carriers. And also Shara Tibken, who’d become a friend at Dow Jones as well while we swapped stories about chip companies, and even partnered up for some big stories. And there were the many people I’d admired from afar but didn’t get to know until after I joined.

Connie’s pitch was to build CNET News into the publication we’d all wanted to work for. A place where people supported each other, instead of backstabbing for bylines. A place where good stories got told, even if they weren’t on your beat. A place that treated you like an adult, where you were judged by your commitment to journalism and the power of your storytelling. A place that understood families are important too, and your butt doesn’t need to still be in a seat at 5 p.m. in order to do good work. A job where we all help each other make the next piece better than the last one.

I admit, I was nervous when I started. But she won me over in the first few days, when she sat me down in her office, and asked about the one story I’d always wanted to tell but never got to. Mine wasn’t a salacious gossip story about Silicon Valley, or an epic takedown of some big name. It was about why our batteries suck, the science behind them, and any hope we have that they could ever get better.

I pitched it to her, between nibbles from the candy jars she kept for everyone to enjoy, and she said go make it happen.

Soon, that story morphed into one of the headline pieces for the first issue of CNET Magazine. And when we published it on the web that December, it quickly grew to become one of the most read for the entire year. That success wasn’t just about batteries being a good story — though it is a fascinating topic, I promise you. It was a sign to me that, when we get it right, CNET’s readers trusted us to tell them stories that matter.

Connie’s promise to create the newsroom we all wanted to work in wasn’t the crazy part. What’s nuts is that we actually made it happen.

Together with Roger, Andrew Morse, Mark Serrels, Carrie Mihalcik, Rochelle Garner, Kent German, Jon Skillings and so many others (I really should just publish the entire staff directory of the last nine years, you each did so much!) we built an incredible team of hungry reporters who were excellent colleagues. We told ambitious stories about how technology was changing our lives for the better or worse, its promises for the future, and what it all meant. And we helped CNET grow larger and often faster than any other tech news and reviews publication out there.

We navigated a constantly changing landscape with only one mandate: To tell stories we’re proud of.

Still, we always experimented and challenged whatever conventional wisdom we had, whether it was how to write a headline, how to format a story, which pictures to pick for layout, or even the angle on the story itself. We had nothing set in stone other than to answer the question, “so what?” for every story we wrote, and to remind one another that we were guides for people to understand this crazy world. “You’re the one who was there, you’re the one who saw it or touched it or tried it out, and you’re the one who talked to people,” Connie would often say. “Bring readers with you.”

Her encouragement led us around the world. Our team covered the Syrian refugee crisis, where we found people fleeing a war zone with their phones as essential translators, guides and legal counsel. We told stories about how technology was helping defuse minefields, how it was helping save rainforests, how it was rewiring our brains, changing how we move, affecting our health, impacting our kids and so much more. And we had a ton of fun along the way — I even scored an early interview with Star Wars actor John Boyega and got to try on a real Storm Trooper helmet, from the actual movies!

There are so many stories I’m proud to have had a hand in telling, and even more I’m honored to have supported my colleagues as they published.

We built something truly special.

I have so much faith in what the reporters at CNET can do, and what that institution can accomplish. I believe in the power of a good story. And I believe in the value of an honest expert helping to guide us through whatever we’re up against, whether that’s figuring out which phone to buy, wondering if that app really can cure Alzheimer’s like it claims, or curious about why we still don’t have self-driving cars.

The story of my time at CNET is that I got to live the dream. I followed good people to an institution where they got to write amazing stories and cheer on ambitious journalism.

Thank you, all of you, for being a part of that.

I’m excited to see what’s next.



Ian Sherr

Editor at Large @cnet, formerly at WSJ, Reuters, AFP. Now, doomscroller covering Apple, Microsoft, gaming, VR, internet troubles. Say hello.