Shortly after Nick Denton hired Gawker Media’s last (and short-lived) editor for Silicon Valley gossip blog Valleywag, he said he chose fiftysomething-year-old Dan Lyons in part because he wanted age diversity at the company.
William Turton fits the bill, albeit perhaps not in the way Denton intended at the time: He’s an 18-year-old high school senior, and he’s going to work at Gawker Media’s Gizmodo title.
Previously a staffer for the Daily Dot, Turton has written several significant stories on hacking and privacy. See, for instance, his coverage of British authorities arresting the teenager who hacked CIA director John Brennan’s email account, and how a group of hackers caused the Christmas 2014 Playstation/Xbox shutdown.
So. Why go to work for Gizmodo/Gawker? “Gawker’s commitment to free expression and fearless journalism was really exciting to me,” Turton told Re/code via Twitter direct message. “Also, the chance to one day be Hulk Hogan’s personal assistant seemed like an appealing career path.”
As for college plans, Turton says he is taking a “gap year.”
Turton isn’t the only tech journalist breaking news who has yet to finish college (though he probably has the high school thing cornered). 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman, a senior at the University of Michigan, is easily the writer who breaks the most news about Apple products well before the company ever announces them. Expect some big-name publishers to make plays for him.
You can read Gizmodo EIC Katie Drummond’s memo about the hire below:
I’m thrilled to announce that William Turton is joining Gizmodo as a staff writer covering the wild and crazy world of all-things cybersecurity and privacy. William joins us from The Daily Dot, where he’s a prolific and versatile writer who has called bullshit on John McAfee, explained the hella confusing All Writs Act, broken news on several high-profile hacks, and written some excellent features including this one on a US family torn apart by cyberattacks.
William’s work ethic, enthusiasm, and mastery of his beat are remarkable. He cares deeply about what he covers and why it matters, and we share the same enthusiasm for conversational, accessible, honest reporting about the companies, people, technologies, and trends that are shaping our future. Oh, and did I mention that William is 18 and a senior in high school? Go read about that in Poynter and Politico, the latter of which called him “tech reporting’s young gun,” and then think back to what you were doing when you were eighteen. If you were anything like me, it was more “writing angsty poetry” than “writing scoops about the hackers who took XBox Live offline.”
Gawker Media has a long, proud history of giving voice to ambitious writers and editors whose profiles don’t conform to the hiring practices of the established press. Gawker.com editor-in-chief Alex Pareene, for example, chose Wonkette (and later Gawker) over college in 2006, launching a career as one of the digital age’s sharpest political voices. I hope that William’s hire signals to other young or unconventional writers out there—and if you know any good ones, send them my way!—that Gawker Media can be a home for their work.
In my conversations with William, I’ve been so impressed by his intellect, passion, and thoughtfulness. He believes in the principles that guide all of Gawker Media’s publications, and I have no doubt that he will make a significant contribution to what we do here, and learn a lot along the way. I can’t wait for all of you to get to know him. He starts on April 25th, and will be joining us in the New York office in mid-July.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.