Gawker editor-in-chief A.J. Daulerio will no longer run the site after a year on the job, Daily Intelligencer has learned. Daulerio jumped across the Gawker Media network from Deadspin and took over for Remy Stern at the start of 2012. “Yes, you heard right. A.J.’s leaving,” Gawker Media owner Nick Denton confirmed via e-mail. Reporter John Cook will be the new editor, he said.
While attempting to meet traffic goals with aggregated viral content, writers under Daulerio were also given time to report longer features and focus on investigative work. Simultaneously, cracking the code of the comments section became an obsession of the upper ranks. In addition, the company announced this week that it’s planning to expand internationally in 2013.
Update: Below is Denton’s full memo to the company:
AJ’s tenure at Gawker has been much like him: bold, infuriating, unpredictable… and often brilliant. He’s brought out work as compelling as Adrian Chen’s expose of Reddit’s most notorious troll; he’s drawn in new talents like Caity Weaver and Neetzan Zimmerman; and he’s melded both the writers he inherited and new hires into the strongest editorial team Gawker has ever seen. I don’t know how he does it.
I mean, I really don’t fully understand: AJ breaks all the usual rules of orthodox management and has still been the most successful editor of Gawker.com. (As a former editor of the site myself, I’m slightly piqued.)
Hamilton’s series on the pain of unemployment, the Bain files, web and hacker culture, Trayvon Martin, Rich’s fearlessly honest discussion of gaydom: all made possible by AJ. Even though AJ took the pressure off writers to deliver traffic with every piece, the site now draws 10m visitors a month.
It’s a testament to the power of encouragement.
And that’s why he’s passing the role to someone on the team. Continuity is our priority.
John Cook is the most experienced reporter on the team, a surprisingly powerful opinion writer and a gossip of the most refined kind. He has natural authority. John will preserve the crew and build on the success of 2012. I’m grateful to AJ for leaving Gawker in such great shape and I can’t wait to see what John and his colleagues will do in 2013. Roger Ailes’ excitement may be more muted.
Daulerio sent the following message to his staff, as obtained by the Observer:
For those of you not in the people aquarium meeting a few short minutes ago, it is my duty to inform you via email that I’m leaving Gawker Media. John Cook is the new editor of Gawker.com. This makes me extremely happy.This is the right move for the site in 2013. As for 2014, who the fuck knows? You should keep that attitude and continue to make this site work for you right now. That’s what makes it fun.
You were all hired here (or kept here) for a reason.
If you have questions, you know I will be here to answer them even after John takes over this desktop covered in Vaseline.