The Verge

Bill Gates will be guest editor of The Verge in February

Microsoft founder Bill Gates will be the first guest editor of The Verge, according to a release from the technology site.

In February, Gates will work with Verge staffers to “develop weekly content features” that correspond to major issues outlined in the 2015 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation annual letter, including health, education, food and banking. He will also narrate four episodes of “The Big Future,” The Verge’s animated explainer series, according to the release.

The Verge promises to run “serious independent journalism” related to the themes laid out in Gates’ annual letter, according to an announcement by Verge Editor-in-Chief Nilay Patel:

Gates is our guest editor, but we have promised his team that we’ll do serious independent journalism against these themes; we will present a complete picture of this future to you. It’s going to be exciting.

Patel quipped that Gates’ temporary editorship was the cause for some relaxation:

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Career Beat: Sandra Martin named interim CFO at Tribune Publishing

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Sandra Martin will be interim chief financial officer at Tribune Publishing. Previously, she was senior vice president of corporate finance there. (Chicago Tribune)
  • Liz Carter is now president and CEO at The Scripps Howard Foundation. Previously, she was executive director of Cincinnati’s St. Vincent de Paul. (Scripps Howard)
  • David Pierce will be a senior writer at Wired. Previously, he was deputy editor at The Verge. Robert Capps will be head of editorial for Wired. Previously, he was deputy editor there. Mark McClusky will be head of operations at Wired. Previously, he was editor of Wired.com. Mark Robinson will be an executive editor at Wired. Previously, he was features editor there. Joe Brown will be an executive editor at Wired. Previously, he was deputy editor there. Kathleen Vignos is now director of engineering at Wired. Previously, she was interim director of engineering there.
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Career Beat: Dan Lyons named editor-in-chief at Valleywag

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Dan Lyons is now editor-in-chief at Valleywag. Previously, he was a marketing fellow at HubSpot. (Re/code)
  • Rachel Racusen will be vice president of communications at MSNBC. Previously, she was associate communications director for the White House. (Playbook)
  • Jeff Fager will be an executive producer at “60 Minutes”. Previously, he was chairman of CBS News. (Politico)
  • Nitasha Tiku is now a west coast senior writer at The Verge. Previously, she was editor-in-chief of Valleywag. (Business Insider)
  • Jason Kravarik is now a producer at CNN. Previously, he was assistant news director at KOIN in Portland, Oregon. (TV Spy)

Job of the day: The Rockford (Illinois) Register Star is looking for an editor. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org Read more

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Nitasha Tiku joins The Verge

Business Insider

The Verge has hired Valleywag editor Nitasha Tiku to be its West Coast senior editor, Business Insider’s Alyson Shontell writes.

Tiku recently took over as sole editor of Gawker Media’s tech publication after Sam Biddle departed for Gawker.

Tiku will work alongside Casey Newton, who was recently appointed The Verge’s Silicon Valley editor.

Verge Editor-in-Chief Nilay Patel told Poynter he wanted its West Coast operation to be more than a “trade publication,” citing competitors like Re/code and TechCrunch. Instead, he said, he wanted to examine “the culture and the companies” of Silicon Valley. Read more

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The Verge appoints a Silicon Valley editor

Casey Newton is The Verge’s new Silicon Valley editor, the technology publication announced Wednesday. He previously covered Silicon Valley as a senior reporter, with editors at Verge HQ in New York overseeing his work. “What I realized was that Casey had been actually in charge for some time,” Verge Editor-in-Chief Nilay Patel said in a phone call with Poynter.

Newton.

Newton.

Newton will be charged with taking on “the culture and the companies of Silicon Valley,” Patel said. He doesn’t want The Verge, which he took over three months ago, to approach Valley coverage as a “trade publication” — he named Re/code and TechCrunch as examples of those. “It’s the difference between Variety and Vanity Fair,” he said.

“The decisions that are being made here in Silicon Valley are affecting billions,” Newton told Poynter. “We’re thinking of new ways that we can tell those stories.”

Patel said his publication had 31 million unique visitors in September, and that audience is something Newton plans to leverage when dealing with Silicon Valley’s formidable PR apparatus. Read more

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Career Beat: Arianna Huffington to get new chief of staff

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Elise Hu will be NPR’s Asia correspondent in Seoul. She covers tech and culture at NPR. (Poynter)
  • Mitra Kalita is now executive editor-at-large for Quartz. Previously, she was ideas editor there. Paul Smalera will be Quartz’ new ideas editor. He is editor of The New York Times opinion app. (Poynter)
  • Donald Baer is now chairman of PBS’ board of directors. He is CEO of Burson-Marsteller. (PBS)
  • Jessica Coen is now a contributing editor at Marie Claire. She is an editor-at-large with Jezebel. (Fishbowl NY)
  • Stephen Lacy is now chairman of the Association of Magazine Media. He is CEO of the Meredith Corporation. (Email)
  • Dan Katz will be chief of staff to Arianna Huffington. He’s currently a chief researcher for David Gergen. Maxwell Strachan is now senior editor of business and tech at The Huffington Post.
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Here are the media’s best 404 pages

Bloomberg Politics got some attention Monday after an enterprising reporter noticed that navigating to a broken page on the site reveals this animation of Joe Biden shooting lightning at a revolving “404″ symbol:
Biden404

That got me thinking: how do other news organizations handle the dreaded error message? To find out, I went to a lot of sites and broke a lot of links. Here’s what I found:

 

Billy Penn

If for some reason you stray across a broken page at local news startup Billy Penn, you’re greeted by an oil painting of William Penn, the site’s namesake, who delivers a gentle admonishment: “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”

BillyPenn404

The Chicago Tribune

Break a link at The Chicago Tribune and a dapper fellow named “Colonel Tribune” appears and introduces himself as the “Web ambassador for chicagotribune.com.” He suggests you search the site’s topics pages before bidding you a fond farewell. Read more

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vergefeaturedsec

For Hack Week, The Verge merges product and editorial — and publishes a lot of quizzes

The Verge posted some offbeat stuff during its anything-goes Hack Week last week: a timeline of Gordon Ramsay’s epicurean empire, a history of metaphors for the internet, a list of the top 10 videos featuring Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief.

“I was expecting traffic to crater,” Patel said. But pageviews actually jumped 11 percent from the previous week. More telling: Facebook engagement was up 52 percent.

Given the BuzzFeed-like content that the site ran as it experimented with tools like timelines, photo sliders and quizzes, that’s not a huge surprise. While articles like “Name this Samsung rectangle” clearly resonated with readers by offering something new, some commenters were a little fed up with all the quizzes and lists.

More examples:

“Maybe we shouldn’t have a site full of quizzes,” Patel told me during a visit to Vox Media’s Manhattan offices. Read more

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Nilay Patel leaves The Verge for Ezra Klein’s Vox

Re/Code | Facebook

Verge Managing Editor Nilay Patel will become acting managing editor of Ezra Klein’s Vox, Kara Swisher reports. Both publications are owned by Vox Media.

Patel won’t stay long at Vox, Swisher writes: “Sources said he will later move on to work on the site related to Vox Media’s purchase last November of the Curbed Network of sites that focus on real estate and restaurants, with its founder Lockhart Steele.”

In a post published on Vox’s Facebook page Monday, Patel writes, “This is going to be fun.”

Last year I interviewed Patel, a copyright attorney, about what a writer with a legal background can bring to a publication. “There’s this whole army of unemployed law-school grads and none of them is competing with me,” Patel said. Read more

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You can use Getty Images for free, sort of

The Wall Street Journal | The Verge | BBC | Nieman Lab

The “sort of” is you’re using Twitter, Tumblr or “non-commercial WordPress blogs,” Georgia Wells reported in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday after Getty Images announced they’d make a whole lot of images available for free.

On Wednesday, the company unveiled the embed tool, which will allow users to include images on websites, such as non-commercial WordPress blogs. The eligible images also come with buttons for Tumblr and Twitter, where a link to the image can be shared. (The image itself doesn’t appear on Twitter, however.)

Poynter is a nonprofit, and we do use WordPress. But we do sell ads against our content. So I think it’s OK that I pulled this shot this morning, because, well, look at that guy.

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