Hello, readers of io9! As you became aware last week, io9's wonderful deputy editor, Jill Pantozzi, ascended to a good place of her own and said goodbye after four years guiding the ship. Which means it’s time for a new pair of hands at the helm, or at least hands that will wave at the person at the helm, telling them to go fast.
So hi! Yes I, James Whitbrook, am io9's new deputy editor. I’ve been writing at the site since 2014, when I was recruited by our beloved leaders, Charlie Jane Anders and Annalee Newitz, who decided they were so sick of me commenting that they’d let me have a go at the actual thing. And here we are! Let me tell you, it is a bizarre experience to have gone on this journey, through the incredible leadership of Charlie Jane, Annalee, Rob and Jill, to see trusted friends and voices of the site come and go, to be sued by Hulk Hogan, then bought by Univision, and survive to this day. They didn’t even have new Star Wars movies scheduled when I started working here! I guess we don’t have many right now either, but still!
I hope that my history with the site lends a sense of ease to this transition period for our readers, the people who have kept io9 trundling along this wild road. Our readership has never been afraid to speak its mind, to share concerns, to celebrate the nerdy things we all love, and make it worth building a site to attract them to in the first place. I have been at io9 long enough to know what it means to our readers. I’ve also been here long enough to know that change is often met with a healthy level of apprehension—whether it’s a new Doctor on Doctor Who, a truckload of Marvel announcements, or a new editor at your favorite website. As io9 moves forward, I will guide this ship confident I am making a site that has people excited to check in every day, and who will hold us to the same high standards as always.
There has never been a bigger or better time to be writing about sci-fi and fantasy, and the cultures and companies creating it. There is so much stuff—perhaps too much stuff—to talk about, share, critique and celebrate. But it’s also a time when there is great cause for concern. Corporate awareness of the fandom cultures we love is at an all time high, and the massive businesses behind our beloved franchises are working to exploit that loyalty and translate it into revenues: The return of the walled gardens of studio-owned streaming platforms; the way studios control access and create narratives to drown out criticism and create feverish, endless hype; the way the creators of the characters we love have been exploited as studios make billions and offer little in return. In the age of media oversaturation, it’s more important than ever to be aware of the businesses behind the media we consume.
As much as io9 is a voice that celebrates the things we love, I hope it will also help our readers understand the way our favorite shows, books, comics, TV series and games get made. A place that fosters a healthy sense of community, and creates solidarity with the creators that bring these wonderful, silly, heartbreaking, petrifying worlds to life. A place that will always celebrate loving these adventures and characters—and hold them to the fire when we want them to be even better.
Above all, I hope you’ll join me and the rest of our team through it all. My eternal thanks to the best commenters a website could ask for—let’s get back to it, shall we?
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