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Gawker's New Editor Is Alex Pareene, Formerly of First Look and Salon

The promotion was announced in an internal memo earlier today.

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Despite talk of making Gawker “20 percent nicer,” the newly appointed editor of is an old name — Alex Pareene.

In a memo today, Gawker Media Executive Editor John Cook announced that Pareene (“One of the most talented and joyously mischievous political observers of his generation”) would take over the site as coverage for the 2016 election ramps up. The promotion is the latest in a series of senior personnel moves at the digital media publisher; last week, Cook was made the permanent executive editor, and Gawker Media advertising chief Andrew Gorenstein left the company.

In the 2000s, Pareene wrote about politics for Gawker and edited the then-Gawker Media politics blog Wonkette. He later wrote a column for Salon, before moving to the failed First Look Media project Racket in 2014. After Racket’s implosion, Pareene returned to Gawker as special projects editor this past January.

Here’s Cook’s memo announcing the hiring:


I’m thrilled to tell you that, after a long search, Alex Pareene will be the next editor-in-chief of Alex is one of the most talented and joyously mischievous political observers of his generation, and as we enter a presidential campaign cycle that promises to be nothing short of a terrifying circus, there is no one more suited to take Gawker’s helm. Alex will soon have more to say about the direction he intends to take Gawker in over the coming years, but you can expect satire, wit, and reporting on the grievous state of our political class.

Alex has been in and out of Gawker since he was a pup, and sharpened his teeth at Wonkette. I’ve known him since his appletini-swilling days, and I watched him up close — I will admit, with some surprise — manage the process of building a crack team of humorists, writers, and reporters for First Look’s Racket (and, later, Racket Teen) as Matt Taibbi’s deputy. I was as impressed with his ability to run a budding editorial operation under stressful circumstances as I was disappointed that it never actually came to life. More recently he’s been coordinating political coverage across all of Gawker Media while helping out on edits at I’m excited to see how he applies the talented staff of Gawker to the task of skewering, mocking, and decoding our political process over the next year.

Leah Beckmann deserves the gratitude and respect of all of us for stepping up as acting editor-in-chief of Gawker during a goddamned horrible time for the site’s staff. She kept the wheels on, and she didn’t have to. She stayed out of loyalty to her people when they needed her, doing a difficult and thankless job while navigating a move to her new home in Los Angeles. Like me, Leah has come and gone from Gawker a couple times since she started in 2011, in the process rising from an intern to running the site during a crucial and sensitive time. I missed her terribly the last time she left Gawker, and I will miss her terribly again as she leaves us. Please thank her for stepping into the breach and helping out.


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