Former New York Times Employee Speaks out After Sudden Firing

October 23, 2019 Updated: October 23, 2019

A New York Times employee who was suddenly let go this week is speaking out about her firing.

Runa Sandvik, a former hacker, joined the paper in 2016 as its senior director of information security, according to a profile the paper published last year.

Sandvik was in charge of spearheading security improvements.

Her efforts included getting reporters to download message app Signal and sending phishing emails to employees. Those who fell for the emails were given training.

Sandvik’s job was described as “increasingly crucial.”

But she announced on Oct. 22 that she was fired.

“Today the @nytimes chose to eliminate my role, stating that there is no need for a dedicated focus on newsroom and journalistic security. I strongly believe in what I do (and what we did), and to say I’m disappointed would be an understatement,” she wrote in a statement.

“I’m grateful for the 3.5 years of collaboration and helping support brilliant journalists; it’s been amazing and exciting; I remain a fierce advocate for the mission of protecting reporters & sources, and I’m very disappointed to see this chapter brought to a sudden close,” she continued.

“I’ve already had an outpouring of questions and support – thank you! I’m going to take a little time off, and then look for how and where I can provide the greatest impact to help people see and hear the stories which need to be told, without compromising sources.”

According to Sandvik’s Twitter page, she’d recently returned to New York after a trip to New Zealand that included time spent at Kawaiicon, a technical computer security conference.

The New York Times hasn’t commented on Sandvik’s termination.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber