Despite Columbia Journalism Review‘s claim less than a week ago that Atlantic Media‘s TheWire had stalled its search for a new editor, today TheWire names its new editor. It’s Dash Bennett. Dash — a funky name for an editor — has written for TheWire since October, 2011. He’s been the news editor since the fall of 2013. His previous journalism haunts include Deadspin and Business Insider. He was also a writer and editor for Gawker, Slate and The Onion.
So take that Columbia Journalism Review, which on May 29 published “Chaos at the Wire?” The author, Alexis Sobel Fitts, wrote that TheWire was “directionless,” that a search for a new editor had ceased, and that none of the reporters who’d left would be replaced. Politico jumped on the bandwagon and published a post Monday insinuating that TheWire was floundering ever since editor Gabriel Snyder left in January. The piece was sterile with the facts and included an update. Still, their headline fell short on reality considering today’s developments. They also repeat the faulty information that TheWire had given up looking for a new editor. Politico‘s headline: “The Atlantic’s ‘Wire’ Exodus Continues.’”
Since January, they’ve had three employees and a fellow leave — Philip Bump to WaPo, Alex Abad-Santos to Vox Media and Elspeth Reeve to Pierre Omidyar‘s First Look Media. They’ve since hired new employees to replace them. The fact is, they have exactly the same number of full-time employees they had when Gabriel left, and they’re adding more. The one-year fellow, Allie Jones, left for Gawker. Her fellowship was ending. She left one month early with TheWire‘s blessings. Maybe CJR took a few too many bites of Maureen Dowd‘s pot candy bars? Maybe their sources were just wrong, and their copy too. This, despite being told before they published that they were wrong.
TheWire added four staff writers this year: Adam Chandler, covering politics and culture; Arit John, covering politics and national security; Polly Mosendz, covering technology and business; and David Sims, who covers television and movies and reports to TheWire’s culture maven, Entertainment Editor Joe Reid. Chandler and John were both promoted from within.
The site is recruiting for four positions: the news editor slot vacated by Bennett; a politics editor; social media editor; and politics writer. Andrew Golis, the general manger, is handling recruitment (hint hint for anyone seeking a job in journalism).
For those who may be unfamiliar with the outlet, TheWire covers “what matters now” in the beats of politics, business, technology and entertainment. Over the past three months, they report 5.4 million unique visitors to the site.
“We looked long and hard for the best person to run The Wire,” said The Atlantic’s presidents, James Bennet and Bob Cohn in a statement released today. “In the end, Dash combined the deepest understanding of the core mission of the site with the clearest vision for its possibilities. And while our search was underway, he demonstrated his leadership ability by helping our writers steadily sharpen their work and continue to grow their audience.”
In the coming weeks, says the release, The Wire will cover two very different contests: the World Cup and the fall 2014 primaries and midterm elections. The Media Diet series, which tracks the info consumption of newsmakers, has tackled the reading materials of best-selling author Jackie Collins to late night host John Oliver to Marie Claire creative director Nina Garcia.