Digital dustup: Huffington Post executive editor Nico Pitney replaced by26-year-old Jimmy Soni
Huffington Post executive editor Nico Pitney announced Tuesday that he will be leaving the fast-growing news site, which was acquired by AOL last year.
While these kinds of abrupt announcements are often bred by controversy, a source tells Capital New York that Pitney’s departure is amicable; he’s reportedly leaving to be closer to his wife, who lives in San Francisco (HuffPo's offices are headquartered in New York City).
26-year-old Jimmy Soni will be stepping up to take Pitney’s place. Soni is a Huffington veteran, having spent the past year as the Huffington Media Group’s chief of staff. He’s also a serious scribe; Rome’s Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato, which he co-authored, is out on St. Marten’s-McMillan this year, and he’s a former speechwriter for the Executive Office of the Mayor of the District of Colombia.
Soni has a lot in common with the accomplished editor he’s replacing — both have a background in politics, and both are transitioning from other roles within the organization. It isn't clear whether Soni is an interim replacement, or whether he'll be taking over duties indefinitely, though there's been no mention of the position being temporary.
Of course, Gawker jumps at the chance to point out that Soni may be a little green for the high-profile job:
Tuesday's news comes after Monday's announcement that Huffington co-founder Jonah Peretti's latest venture, Buzzfeed, was granted $15.5 million in financing to develop their new media-friendly news strategy.
At one point, HuffPo was turning to seasoned journalists like BBC and Time hand Elinor Shields for the managing editor role. In recent years, however, the publication has hired M.E.s based instead on their ability to listen and withstand pressure. Having lasted three quarters of a year as Huffington's right hand, Soni clearly has that nailed.
Snarky? Yes. But accurate? We'll see.
Pitney replaced former managing editor Jai Singh in May of 2011 when Singh became editor-in-chief of the Yahoo Media Network. Previously, Pitney had served as managing editor of The Huffington Post; before that, he was the politics editor (and, eventually, national editor and Washington Bureau Chief), heading the section during the ’08 election year that drew millions of readers to the Post’s simple but always-sensational homepage.
In other turnover news, The Atlantic Wire reports that Huffington's top technology officer, Paul Berry, also plans to leave the company in March. Berry will be reuniting with Huffington co-founder Jonah Peretti at startup Rebel Mouse.
Tuesday's news comes after Monday's announcement that Huffington co-founder Jonah Peretti's latest venture, Buzzfeed — a "social media-optimized and meme-focused aggregator" — was granted $15.5 million in financing to develop their new media-friendly news strategy.
Buzzfeed has been making headlines recently for recruiting some of the top politics and culture writers in the field, including Ben Smith (formerly of Politico), Zeke Miller (formerly of Business Insider) and Rosie Gray (formerly of The Village Voice).
Tell us: What do you think about HuffPo's new direction? Do you agree with Gawker's take?