A.J. Daulerio Is Leaving Gawker for ‘Who the F#@K Knows’

A.J. Daulerio (Photo: Facebook)

A.J. Daulerio (Photo: Facebook)

Gawker editor-in-chief A.J. Daulerio is leaving the site. He sent out a memo to Gawker staff this afternoon shortly after the news broke on NY Mag’s Daily Intelligencer blog. In his email announcing his departure, Mr. Daulerio was vague about his future plans.

“This is the right move for the site in 2013,” he wrote. “As for 2014, who the fuck knows?”

Mr. Daulerio joined Gawker in December 2011 from Gawker Media’s sports site Deadspin. He will be replaced by Gawker writer John Cook. Sources told the Observer Mr. Daulerio had recently asked Gawker head honcho Nick Denton to take a higher position overseeing multiple blogs at the Gawker Media network but was told by Mr. Denton that he was not “responsible” enough. In spite of this, other sources at the company say he quit and was not fired by Mr. Denton.

Mr. Denton sent out an email of his own in which he praised Mr. Daulerio for improving the site while  taking “the pressure off writers to deliver traffic with every piece.”

“AJ’s tenure at Gawker has been much like him: bold, infuriating, unpredictable… and often brilliant,” Mr. Denton wrote. “He’s melded both the writers he inherited and new hires into the strongest editorial team Gawker has ever seen. I don’t know how he does it. I mean, I really don’t fully understand: AJ breaks all the usual rules of orthodox management and has still been the most successful editor of Gawker.com. (As a former editor of the site myself, I’m slightly piqued.)”

Mr. Denton also expressed confidence Mr. Cook will “will preserve the crew and build on the success of 2012.”

In an email to the Observer, Mr. Daulerio quoted an infamous line from his girlfriend, erstwhile Vice columnist Cat Marnell, to describe his next move.

“I plan to hang out on the rooftop of Le Bain looking for shooting stars smoking angel dust with my friends,” he wrote.

Mr. Denton told us to “ask AJ and John about their plans.”

Read Mr. Daulerio and Mr. Denton’s full emails below.

Mr. Daulerio’s email to Gawker staff.

“For those of you not in the people aquarium meeting a few short minutes ago, it is my duty to inform you via email that I’m leaving Gawker Media. John Cook is the new editor of Gawker.com. This makes me extremely happy.This is the right move for the site in 2013. As for 2014, who the fuck knows? You should keep that attitude and continue to make this site work for you right now. That’s what makes it fun. 

You were all hired here (or kept here) for a reason. 

If you have questions, you know I will be here to answer them even after John takes over this desktop covered in Vaseline.

xoxoxoxo.

Onward.”

Mr. Denton’s email to Gawker staff:

“Date: Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 5:28 PM
Subject: Fwd: Dear Staff

AJ’s tenure at Gawker has been much like him: bold, infuriating, unpredictable… and often brilliant. He’s brought out work as compelling as Adrian Chen’s expose of Reddit’s most notorious troll; he’s drawn in new talents like Caity Weaver and Neetzan Zimmerman; and he’s melded both the writers he inherited and new hires into the strongest editorial team Gawker has ever seen. I don’t know how he does it.
 
I mean, I really don’t fully understand: AJ breaks all the usual rules of orthodox management and has still been the most successful editor of Gawker.com. (As a former editor of the site myself, I’m slightly piqued.) 
 
Hamilton’s series on the pain of unemployment, the Bain files, web and hacker culture, Trayvon Martin, Rich’s fearlessly honest discussion of gaydom: all made possible by AJ. Even though AJ took the pressure off writers to deliver traffic with every piece, the site now draws 10m visitors a month. 
 
It’s a testament to the power of encouragement.
 
And that’s why he’s passing the role to someone on the team. Continuity is our priority. 
 
John Cook is the most experienced reporter on the team, a surprisingly powerful opinion writer and a gossip of the most refined kind. He has natural authority. John will preserve the crew and build on the success of 2012. I’m grateful to AJ for leaving Gawker in such great shape and I can’t wait to see what John and his colleagues will do in 2013. Roger Ailes’ excitement may be more muted.
 
Regards
 
Nick”
(Updated 5:48 p.m.) 

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