After three years of toil, Gizmodo Media Group’s last Executive Managing Editor Alex Dickinson is off to his next adventure.
By the end, Dicko was a fixer. You had problems, Dicko fixed them. Trapped by circumstance, he spent the last two years in an executive role helping a bunch of bloggers deal with the incompetence of a television broadcaster that decided it didn’t want to own blogs anymore. Dicko did it graciously.
I admit that sometimes I bristled at his messages trying to help me make Gizmodo better with a comment or a suggestion, but Dicko was usually right. It’s sort of a shame that Dicko graduated to dealing with high-level bullshit because he was a very talented editor, both as Deputy of Gizmodo.com, and then later as counsel to me in that job. One time, after struggling to edit a story for hours, Dicko snatched it away from me, politely told me it read a little bit too much like a press release, and sent me home. By the time I looked at the page again, the story had been rewritten and published.
On trips back home to Australia, his accent would thicken. After his return from a longer trip, we stopped and chatted for a moment. As we were parting ways he said, “weshurooreers.”
He switched to his best American honky accent: “We should get some beers.”
We’ll miss you Alex.
Danielle Belton, Editor-in-Chief, The Root
I was going to make a bunch of jokes about mugs in tribute of you policing those obsessed with their personal mugs being used in a communal capacity but it’s highly likely everyone else did this for me. So I’m just going to say I will miss your ability to stay calm through anything, no matter how terrible or stupid. You may have said a curse word or two (or three or 17) but you were always someone who just got shit done and I appreciated it.
Kelly Bourdet, Editor-in-Chief, Gizmodo
On my first day at Gizmodo, I was greeted by a tall Australian man who looked quite the worse for wear. Dicko had showed up to help me get my footing despite being in the grip of an absolutely terrible flu. As soon as I walked in the door, he helped me immensely in ways large and small and showed himself to be a level-headed leader in a time of extreme internal turmoil. He also gave me the flu.
Alex fielded my frenzied slack messages and helped me to find a more even approach to problems many times. He was an empathetic and solid editorial leader when it sometimes felt like this place was on fire. I am so grateful for his leadership and I’m gonna miss him.
Also one time his dog definitely took a shit in one of the phone rooms and he refused to own up to it. I hope you have found a way to live with that lie, Alex.
Aleksander Chan, Editor-in-Chief, Splinter
I love, hate, and miss Dicko like a brother. We all took for granted everything he did for us and every day without him so far has been hell. I have no doubt he’ll go somewhere great and I’m already jealous of the people who get to have him in their corner. I would also like to state for the record that he owes me a dressing room montage set to Christina Aguilera’s “What a Girl Wants” and he should fully expect me to collect on this debt, no matter where he ends up.
(PLEASE include attached image):
Veronica de Souza, former Director of Audience, Gizmodo Media Group
I sat next to Alex (I refuse to call him “Dicko”) for over a year and he is honestly one of the strangest people I’ve ever met. That said, I’m incredibly lucky to have worked with him and to call him a friend. I’ve seen Alex be cool and level-headed in the most insane situations when it would have been totally fine for him to flip tables. He went to bat for everyone, every day. This company, whatever it’s called now, is losing an A player. The only one benefitting from any of this is Clickhole, the only good website, as Alex will now have more time to read it.
Here is a photo Alex with his favorite dog, and a screenshot of a slack message he sent me about his favorite band.
Ernie Deeb, Senior Product Manager, Gizmodo Media Group
Editor’s Note: Ernie only provided the following video:
Katie Drummond, Former Executive Managing Editor, Gizmodo Media Group. Former Editor-in-Chief, Gizmodo
When I started at Gizmodo as EIC and set about finding a deputy editor, John Cook gave me the following advice: Hire someone so good, and with whom you have such a strong mind-meld, he said, that if you got run over by a bus tomorrow they’d be able to run the site without anyone noticing you were dead. It was very John Cook advice, and it led me very clearly to one person: Alex. What ensued was a completely batshit year of co-helming the Gizmodo ship, working together to wrangle some truly insane editorial staffers (hi, William), and publishing stories and blogs that will forever and ever be the favorite ones I’ve worked on (hi, Facebook). I didn’t get hit by a bus, but I did flame out of Gizmodo Media in somewhat dramatic fashion — and Alex, steadfast and strong leader that he is, kept things running through that little bit of hell. And then, from what I understand, some other hell that followed, and followed, and followed (hi, G/O media). Alex is among my closest friends and allies, taught me to use the word “froth” to denote editorial excellence, and always looked at my moles to tell me whether he thought I had skin cancer. I love the guy, I’m so grateful he took the job, and I’m so sorry for the years it probably shaved off his life. Alex, I hope you take a very very very long vacation.
Jon Eiseman, Director of Audience Gizmodo Media Group
Hey Alex, I have some questions about a white mug with a round handle that I left in the office in 2017 but haven’t been able to find since. Because you’re not on slack anymore, can you just text me when you see this? Thx.
Beth Elderkin, Editor, io9
Alex Dickinson interviewed me for the weekend editor job at io9, but my favorite memory with him actually happened a couple of years later. I was returning from my honeymoon. I’d kept my phone off the whole time—you know, marital bliss and all. When I finally turned it back on, while sitting on my cabin’s deck, I found I had a voicemail from Alex asking to talk with me. Naturally, being a neurotic weirdo, I assumed it meant something was wrong. Was my contract over? Would I no longer be with io9? All the options ran through my strange head. I called him back at the airport in Florida, as I waited to go home. Much to my surprise, he was calling me to see if I’d like to become a full-time writer for io9. It was a dream come true. I went back to my new husband and said, “We’re ordering mimosas. It’s time to celebrate.”
Adam Clark Estes, Senior Editor, Gizmodo
Alex Dickinson, who is from Australia, joined the Gizmodo softball team, despite having never played softball or baseball. He threw the ball in the style of a cricket bowler and, similarly, swung the bat downwards as if protecting the wicket. He also outperformed nearly everyone on the field that day. That’s just Dicko being good at everything in his own way, I guess. I’ll miss him.
Patrick George, Editor-in-Chief, Jalopnik
We once tried to help Alex buy a car. I don’t know if he ever did, much to my great disappointment. I was hoping we could somehow bond over his culture by getting him into an imported Holden Ute or a Mad Max-replica Ford Falcon or something like that. You know, something deeply Australian. I think he wanted to buy a Subaru wagon instead. Sad.
That aside, I can tell you that Dicko was the kind of person you not only aspired to work for, but that you aspired to be more like. As a newsroom leader he showed such constant grace and kindness under fire. He deftly and patiently handled so many situations where I would have absolutely lost my shit, and I always marveled at the fortitude it must’ve took to do that. To the very end, he was a defender of his people, almost without equal in this shitty industry full of shitty bosses. Dicko’s one of the good ones.
He will always be a friend of Jalopnik, no matter what he drives.
Megan Greenwell, Editor-in-Chief, Deadspin
My first memory of Dicko is him totally forgetting he was scheduled to call me and then sending me a series of slightly unhinged texts falling all over himself apologizing. My second memory of Dicko is him talking to me about rugby for some reason, and most of the rest of my memories are him complaining about everyone pigeonholing him as that Australian dude just because he has a thick Australian accent and all he talks about is rugby and, like, koalas. He also made my work life immeasurably better and became an important pal to me and whatever, but he’s still that Australian dude. Once I made him very proud by learning the Australian phrase “we’re not here to fuck spiders,” and that was nice. I sure hope the nerds up at Harvard bully him for being Australian, but not too much because he’s secretly a giant softie. I miss him very much already.
In conclusion, here is a nice video of my friend Dicko.
Victor Jeffreys II, Events, Gizmodo Media Group
I LOVE YOU
Sophie Kleeman, Former News Editor, Gizmodo
Alex Dickinson is one of approximately two men I have worked for in my career who wasn’t a total bastard. This was not altogether clear to me the first time we had a conversation. After I explained the extent of my conflicted feelings about our shared birthplace, he paused and said, “Sorry, I wasn’t listening.” Luckily, Dicko turned out to be the kind of boss you always wanted to show up for. He has a unique ability to make your life easier, even if it means putting himself in a shitty position in order to do so. He is a rare bright spot in a sea of miserable people who spend too much time on Twitter, probably because he only uses Twitter to tweet Clickhole stories. I came to depend on him during the company’s darker times, which largely consisted of him suggesting we get drunk, and then covering the tab. I admire his militant obsession with acquiring office gossip, which usually came in the form of a Slack saying “what’s the goss?” but which occasionally came in blog form. I will always remember his love of Tom Hardy, Bitmoji, and Graham, the fucked up car crash sculpture. Most importantly, I’m thankful I was able to experience his passion for connecting with his coworkers on LinkedIn.
Melissa Kirsch, Editor-in-Chief, Lifehacker
Dicko never seemed to warm to my saying “Northern Beaches” and “Rugby League” in a flawless Australian accent, but I loved working with him all the same.
Tom Ley, Features Editor, Deadspin
Like many industries, journalism is one in which gaining success and rising through the ranks can be an unpleasant thing. One day you’re a talented writer or editor, working every day to publish stories that you are passionate about, and the next you are a Deputy Executive Editor of Somesuch, and your day-to-day duties suddenly boil down to dealing with a bunch of administrative bullshit nobody really wants to deal with.
Some people who end up in this situation complain about it endlessly, which does not earn them much sympathy given how much more money they are making than the people they are usually complaining to. But Alex Dickinson, who up until last week was this company’s Deputy Executive Editor of Somesuch, never did that, at least not in my presence, because Alex is a good guy.
Alex ascended to the executive level at a time when we needed someone with his patience and level-headedness to help guide us. He did exactly that, through some very rough times, and soon became known as the guy best equipped to solve whatever problem you were having. Every complaint about expense reports or HR fuckups or the CMS or budget constraints ended up at Alex’s feet, and instead of grumbling about all the shit he had to deal with, he went ahead and dealt with it. By doing that, he greatly improved the experience of working here for every single one of us, and we owe him for it.
Germain Lussier, Senior Writer, io9
I work in Los Angeles. So while I’d talked to Dicko a few times on Slack and maybe once on the phone when he was with Gizmodo, I’d never met him in person. Years later, he’s been promoted and I just so happen to be in New York for something, so I stopped by the office to work. Everyone was nice but it’s relatively quiet. At one point though I was talking, he was walking by and he came up to me. “Germain, right? Dicko, I knew I recognized that voice.” He didn’t have to do that and it was awesome. I wish him the best.
Bryan Menegus, Senior Writer, Gizmodo
The three moods of Alex Dicko
Shehroz Mohammed-Ali, Finance, Gizmodo Media Group
I worked with Alex more than anyone at GMG and I can’t believe I never told him how much I truly appreciated him. Thanks for being my go-to confidante in that crazy office and for being one of my favorite people I’ve had the opportunity to work with, showing up to places just for the booze won’t be the same without you there.
Your favorite Finance person ever
Michael Nunez, Former Technology Editor, Gizmodo
Alex is a dear friend and supremely talented editor that can masterfully cut to the heart of any story. This was never more apparent than the time he crafted the headline of one of my favorite blogs ever: Look At This Fucking Gator.
Of course, there was also the time he edited my Facebook Trending stories, an experience that probably shaved years off my life and seemingly ripped a hole in the fabric of space and time. I still get the shakes thinking about that week, and three years later, it amazes me that the conversation about Facebook moderation still rages on.
My favorite memory of working with Alex is, by far, is calling him at 2 a.m. to talk about whether to add a statement to my story. Alex always had my back, and I don’t think I fully appreciated at the time how loyal, supportive, and committed he was to the craft of journalism. You simply don’t find people like Alex Dickinson in this world, and especially not in this industry, and frankly, we’d all be better off if there were more people like him in every newsroom.
Dicko is basically like one of those annoyingly talented older siblings, who always has the right answer and right piece of advice at the right time, even when you might not want to hear it. He is very easily one of the smartest, most charming, and poised editors I’ve ever worked with. I am incredibly grateful for everything I learned from him — and the masterstroke of luck that brought us together before the 2016 election. Best of luck, Alex. I hope Harvard appreciates your headlines as much as I do.
Barry Petchesky, Deputy Editor, Deadspin
Dicko used to live in my neighborhood, so we’d run into each other at the gym a lot. We didn’t chat much there because he was usually in the back pumping iron while I’d be walking slowly on the elliptical while scrolling Twitter on my phone, but I still told everyone we worked out together and he never corrected me in public. Sometimes I’d see him outside the gym too, occasionally walking a tiny dog. Once he recommended a local falafel place and I eventually tried it and it was really good. Thanks, dude.
Also, thanks for buying all that softball equipment for us, even though you got fired the day before we played our first game. I guess you can probably still play with us if you want.
Ben Reininga, Head of Video, Gizmodo Media Group
Alex Dickinson is a really great editor, newsroom boss, and human being. He’s also a pretty B+ seat-mate. If you work with him, consider yourself lucky. If you work with him and sit next to him, slightly less so — as he’ll show up later than you every day and say “Wow, glad you could make it to work, Ben” and then put his feet on your file cabinet, and steal your nicotine replacement products.
Tom Scocca, Former Deputy Executive Editor, Special Projects. Former Executive Features Editor, Gawker Media. Former Deputy Editor, Gawker. Former Managing Editor, Deadspin.
One kind of fun (or “fun”) available at Gawker/Gizmodo Media was the chance to watch what happened when archetypes bounced up against reality. This happened mostly in the old days: Nick Denton would hire an idea of a person, and then the person would do an actual job, and the results might surprise everyone, or they might confirm what everyone believed, or—
At any rate, here was Dicko, in at the aggressive, scoop-making incarnation of Gizmodo: a scruffy, piratical-looking figure, an honest-to-God Australian tabloid newspaper veteran, up from the land of convicts and Murdochs and onto our internet, first mate of our new flagship after the old one had been sunk by sabotage. Things happened in and outside the building, more things happened, rogue waves swamped the quarterdeck, and when the spray momentarily subsided, there to his own considerable surprise stood Dicko, hand on the tiller, guiding the whole editorial fleet.
Why not? He spoke fluent pirate, but he discharged his commanding duties with the tact and benevolence of a cruise-ship captain. You could tell him things honestly and directly, and not only trust him to understand, but trust him, period. He was incisive and scrupulous. He cared about the mission, and he cared about the people.
After I was gone, I confess, I took advantage of that patience and scrupulousness. Lots of people who pass through here, even those who want to get out, have some trouble letting go, and mine took the form of hassling Dicko, month after month, whenever I happened to spot a typo or a major lapse of sense or a taxonomic error in something on one of the sites. He dealt with them, and with me, with unfailing good cheer. For people, and for publications, it’s the small things that show you the true standards.
Erik Shilling, News Editor, Jalopnik
Years ago and at a different job, Alex and I were sitting across from each other and bantering about something or another. It was spring and I realized that the upcoming summer would be the last summer of our 20s. “This will be the last summer of our 20s,” I said, and things got very quiet for a while.
Which is really just to say I’ve known Alex for too long. We hit it off almost immediately, which doesn’t really happen very often, in work or life. He left that job at some point, so did I, but we stayed in touch, eventually both landing at GMG (him first, me with his help.) We were office mates; last week we ran into each other spontaneously at two separate bathrooms in the building, as he looked in vain for an unoccupied stall. It wasn’t awkward at all and I will miss him deeply.
Joyce Tang, Deputy Executive Managing Editor, Gizmodo Media Group
Alex is a true man of the people. As a fancy news exec (now on his way to Hah-vahd), Alex does what any good manager does: makes sure good people have what they need to do good work, even if that means dealing with petty T&E policies and moderating Mug Slack. But I’ve also seen the worst of Alex. Never leave him alone with a bag of Kettle chips. He’ll eat the entire bag, claim he blacked out, and then, like a despot, outlaw chips because the man has no self-control. And for that, I can never work with him again.
Stephen Totilo, Editor-in-Chief, Kotaku
A semi-random collection of feedback I have received from Alex Dickinson during his run overseeing Kotaku: “Sick,” “Sick,” “Oh Sick,” “Sick,” “Yah Sick.” It was, generally, the response I lived for from Alex, who did a sick job himself. And now he’s spending a year studying the intersection of journalism and video games? A glutton for punishment, I guess!
William Turton, Former Staff Writer, Gizmodo
Dicko......truly what a guy. An absolute mate. One of my favorite Dicko memories was when he would briefly stop work to share incredible Australian tabloid covers in Slack and the entire Giz pod would cry laughing. That was a really good time. Are these farewell posts supposed to be a roast? In trying to think of a way to roast Dicko, I recalled all of the times he (rightly) roasted me. He’s really good at that.
Laura Wagner, Staff Writer, Deadspin
Dicko kept everything together and I will miss owning him at slap cup in the kitchen
Carlos Zahumenszky, Editor, Gizmodo en Español
Last year, we had a huge situation in Gizmodo en Español. The kind of shitstorm that can potentially rip apart an entire team. We called for help. Our former boss at a certain television broadcaster ghosted us. He did not even bother to answer. Only GMG did, and Alex was the guy in charge to fix the bullshit. He did it, brilliantly and with justice. Dicko is not only the kind of guy that fix things. He cares about things and never looses patience, no matter how dire or surreal the situation. The whole Gizmodo en Español Team will be always in debt with you. Best of luck in your new adventures.