Well, this is awkward. I’ve never shied away from including myself in my own stories, but it’s not often that I am my own story. I guess now’s as good a time as any to get real, as I say goodbye to the place I’ve long called home.
Friends, I have decided to leave io9. Just writing those words is strange, because I never thought I would leave a place like this. At least not willingly. Journalism is, as you can imagine, a challenging business. There are mountains of talented people vying for the same low-paying positions, which themselves are declining at a rapid rate. Almost every news job I’ve had since college has ended in layoffs, or worse. I remember one digital news outlet gave the whole staff two hours to clear out our desks and digital files before the computers were wiped. That was the job I had right before io9. I guess, in a way, it worked out for the best.
When I was hired as io9's weekend editor, I was terrified. I considered myself nerdy, sure, but these nerds were professionals. They knew every obscure character name in Star Wars, could say which Marvel or DC issue featured some major (or minor) moment—not to mention they were some of the best writers and editors in the business. They knew what a good story was, how to tell it right, and when to call out bullshit in the industry. I was out of my depth (though I’d never have admitted that!). But I did what I’ve always done: I worked. I studied. Eventually, I found my way.
Since then, io9 has given me opportunities to do the kind of work I’d only dreamed of. I moved to New York to help grow io9's video presence—getting to be my awkward, weird self in essays about the Dark Universe, comic-con interviews with Kevin Feige and Adam Savage, and way too many videos about Game of Thrones. As someone who was once told by a cable news executive that she was “too large” to ever be on camera, it was nice to find a place that embraced talent over regressive norms. In print, I covered covid-19's impact on Disney Parks employees. I dove into Terrific Production, one of the strangest comics publishers I’ve ever encountered. I explored my silly, stupid love of Once Upon a Time. I shared my personal struggles with my son’s birth, which was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever written (and experienced). And with the full support of our staff and management, we published an investigative piece about sexual misconduct allegations against voice actor Vic Mignogna. I will forever be proud of my work on that—even though it came at a cost no one should have to pay, as I was doxxed for it and had to flee my home.
But I’ve grown tired. I’m tired of being a video editor without a team, as most of our video producers were laid off during the height of the pandemic last year. I’m tired of trying to juggle life in one of the world’s most expensive cities (which remains a requirement for this job) with the needs of my family. I’m tired of watching so many talented writers, editors, producers, and managers slip through our grasp because it’s not worth it to stay. And I’m tired of trying to convince the people who own this company that what they have is something incredible, and that it’s incredible because of the people who work here.
I’m leaving behind an amazing team—a bubble of close-knit weirdos who I’ve been proud to call my colleagues and friends for many years. First, I want to thank io9 deputy editor Jill Pantozzi for, well, everything. She does the work of at least three full-time jobs stacked on top of each other, and still manages to share in my “OMGs!” about Legends of Tomorrow’s Beebo. She’s gracious and kind, and she cares about what we do. (Bosses, if you’re reading this, pay Jill more.) James, for keeping every fact about every nerdy property crammed inside that bloody brilliant head, and writing so much content we should be called “James and the io9ers.” Charles, for your immaculate wit and news sense, and writing essays that make me sit... and sit some more... and question. Germain, for being the kind of friendly, thoughtful person who knows everyone because they all want to know you (oh, and remember that Taco Bell thing?). Autumn, for giving io9 the perfect voice for our strange group and doing those goofy fun NYCC lives with me. Andrew Liszewski, for always being eager to geek out over board games—we need a virtual session, stat. Andrew Couts, who’s more than earned his place as head of Gizmodo. Valerie, for being a kick-ass weekend editor with the best Twitter. And Cheryl, for being my horror guide, my SDCC roommate, and one of the sweetest people around.
On the video side, much of the team is gone—although, like I previously said, mostly not by choice. I know videos weren’t the most popular thing on io9 (about as popular as slideshows are now), but I loved getting to explore a new way of sharing stories with our audience. I’m proud of the work we did together, and I hope we can see a return to great io9 video content with the resources our team deserves. I want to thank my video crewmates, who produced outstanding work and gave io9 some of the best comic-con coverage we’ve ever had. They include: Danielle, Lily, Rebecca, Pilar, Ben, Myra, Matthew, Eleanor, Vincent, Raul, Tom, Therese, Lauren, Heather, and Mike.
There are so many other folks, past and present, that I could never name them all. Here’s just a few. Gizmodo staff: Marina, Brian, Caitlin, Dell, Rose, Rhett, Shoshana, Victoria, Tom, Whitney, Dharna, Ed, Florence, Isaac, Lucas, Molly, and Sam. Previous io9 (or io9-adjacent) folks: Rob, Katharine, Evan, Julie, Alex, Kelly, Mario, Yessenia, Bryan, Riley, Patrick, Joe, Cecilia, Joanna, Susie, and many others. I want to thank Katie Drummond for recruiting me all those years ago based on one Kotaku post, and Dicko for calling me during my honeymoon to tell me I’d been promoted to full-time (to which I ordered a second Bloody Mary because hell yes). I’ve got to thank my fellow GMG Union members for fighting the good fight, and the Bargaining Committee for introducing me to Terrace House. And, perhaps above all, thanks to io9 founders Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders for creating a wonderful club that, for some reason, wanted me as a member.
If I can leave y’all with one thing: What’s most important in life is to be happy, but what makes you happy can (and should) change. Never settle for the road more traveled because it’s familiar—especially if something, someone, or a whole group of someones no longer serve you on that path. I’m ready to find a new definition of happiness, outside of journalism, and I’m equally happy knowing io9 remains in the most capable hands in geekdom. So goodbye, for now. I’m heading through uncharted waters and I can’t wait to see what’s on the other side. Just got to caulk the wagon and float.
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