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2021 Media Moves: Gawker’s New Editor in Chief and More

Kathryn Hopkins
·5-min read

The revolving door of the media industry never stops. Here, WWD rounds up some notable moves of late.

Monday, April 12

More from WWD

BDG attempts to revive Gawker again

Leah Finnegan has been tapped as editor in chief of Gawker as part of owner Bustle Digital Group’s latest attempt to revive the the historically snarky gossip site.

Finnegan is no stranger to the brand, having been its features editor between 2014 and 2015. Most recently, she was executive editor of The Outline, the Millennial-focused, general interest news site which BDG shuttered in April 2020 in a bid to reduce costs amid the pandemic.

Finnegan, who has also worked at The New York Times, addressed the news, first reported by The New York Times, on Twitter, stating: “The rumours are true.”

BDG acquired Gawker in 2018 for $1.35 million in a bankruptcy court auction and set about brining it back to life with former Details editor in chief Dan Peres at the helm. That didn’t last too long as the effort was killed and Peres and everyone else he hired departed.

A rep. for BDG confirmed that it was relaunching Gawker, but did not provide any further information.

Thursday, April 8

Teen Vogue has a new executive editor

While the search continues for Teen Vogue’s next editor in chief after Condé Nast cut ties with incoming top editor Alexi McCammond, Danielle Kwateng has been named executive editor, taking the helm from Samhita Mukhopadhyay who left last month.

In a post announcing her new position, Kwateng, who has worked at Teen Vogue for two years as the entertainment and culture director, explained why the brand’s social media accounts have been quiet amid the fallout over the appointment of McCammond as top editor in March.

Condé Nast eventually parted ways with McCammond after pressure continued to mount on the publisher over her past racist and homophobic tweets. That included Ulta pausing its current advertising campaign with Teen Vogue that’s said to be worth seven figures, while the Fashion for All Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to create awareness and promote diversity and equality in the fashion industry, called on the publisher to immediately remove McCammond from her position. Earlier, more than 20 members of Teen Vogue’s staff wrote to Condé Nast expressing concerns over McCammond.

“As history has taught us, society has the capacity to evolve. We’ve seen this countless times throughout history with movements, uprisings, and even renaissances. But accountability is a critical part of that growing process. We at Teen Vogue have read your comments and emails and we have seen the pain and frustration caused by resurfaced social media posts,” said Kwateng.

“While our staff continued doing the groundbreaking and progressive work we’re known for, we stopped posting it on social media as we turned inward and had a lot of tough discussions about who we are and what comes next. We’re not perfect, but we do know our place in the media landscape and recognize that our readers make up the DNA of our work.”

In addition to McCammond’s tweets, Newsweek reported that Christine Davitt, a senior social media manager at Teen Vogue, had also made racial slurs online, using the n-word on Twitter twice in 2009 when referring to a friend.

Tuesday, April 6

Refinery29’s new beauty editor

Refinery29 is beefing up its beauty offering with the appointment of Sara Tan as beauty director. Tan spent almost seven years at Bustle as senior fashion and beauty editor and has also held roles at Tiger Beat magazine and AOL.

“Refinery29 is known for its genre-defining beauty content which celebrates self-expression, acceptance and innovation,” says Simone Oliver, global editor in chief of Refinery29. “I’m thrilled to continue that legacy with the addition of Sara Tan, who will bring her unique perspective and experience to further Refinery29’s authority in the beauty space.”

Tan’s appointment comes as Refinery29 teams up with Very Good Light, a platform aiming to democratize beauty for all people, for an editorial partnership exploring gender through the lens of beauty.

Last year, Christene Barberich stepped down as Refinery29’s top editor after a number of former staffers shared their negative experiences as people of color working at the women’s lifestyle site. In September, she was succeeded by Oliver, who joined the Vice Media-owned site from Facebook.

Monday, March 29

Bustle Digital Group announces new hires

BDG has made two hires in its lifestyle division, comprised of Bustle, Elite Daily, Nylon, Romper and The Zoe Report.

Faith Xue joins as executive beauty director, where she will oversee beauty content across all sites as well as set beauty strategy for the company, while Melissa Dahl comes to the company as executive director of health and wellness, where she will be responsible for building out health coverage. Xue was most recently the editorial director at Byrdie and Dahl was the executive editor of The Cut, New York Magazine’s fashion vertical.

“There is an increasing demand from our readers and advertisers to deepen our coverage within the health, wellness and beauty spaces,” said Emma Rosenblum, BDG’s chief content officer for lifestyle. “Both Melissa and Faith bring extensive experience and knowledge in these categories, and I am excited to see what they bring to each of our sites.”

She previously told WWD that she will be searching for potential acquisitions in the health and wellness or food spaces.

For more, see:

Departures Magazine Is Going Digital First and Will No Longer Be Published by Meredith

EXCLUSIVE: Verizon Media to Launch Yahoo Shops

Alexi McCammond Is No Longer Heading to Teen Vogue

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