Rich, a former editor-in-chief of the New York Daily News and editor at outlets like the New York Post and HuffPost, will begin his new role Monday from the site’s new headquarters in Chicago. He said he intends to recruit a staff, including potentially some alumni, and relaunch the site.
Acquired from Univision last year by private equity-backed G/O Media along with other sites in the Gizmodo Media Group like Jalopnik and Jezebel, Deadspin became a digital publishing battleground. When more than a dozen former editors and writers for the esteemed site bristled at G/O directives to “stick to sports” and avoid posting about politics or lifestyle topics, one by one they walked off their jobs. Management, facing obstacles in recruiting replacements given the notoriety of the situation (one interim freelancer in November was hounded on Twitter and quit his role), decided to move the site to Chicago.
G/O also broke off talks with the GMG Union, a local of the Writers Guild of America, East, which had attacked G/O for seeking a degree of editorial control the union considers unreasonable.
“Jim’s extensive experience as a reporter and editor will enable him to rebuild and lead Deadspin into the future,” said G/O Media CEO Jim Spanfeller in the official announcement.
Rich acknowledged the clouds that still loom over the operation. “No doubt there are challenges ahead,” he said, “but I look forward to building a team that will once again make Deadspin the must-read it deserves to be.”
For overseeing a year-long investigation at the Daily News during his tenure as editor in chief, Rich shared a Pulitzer Prize for public service journalism.