by Peter Sterne
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Shortly after former gossip reporter John Cook was named editor-in-chief of Gawker, he posted a job listing on the site for a new gossip reporter. Five months later, that position has finally been filled—by J.K. Trotter.
“I’m just very, very happy for the opportunity to work with John, whose work I’ve followed for a long time, and everyone else at Gawker, who have been really nice (so far),” Mr. Trotter told The Observer in an email.
Mr. Cook announced the hire today in a staff email, which included news of two other hires: Leah Beckmann has been promoted from associate editor to assistant managing editor and Taylor Berman overcame the hazing that is the freelance night shift to become a staff writer.
“I’m very excited to move my schedule into afternoons,” Mr. Berman said. “The goal is to do more reporting and longer pieces in addition to the regular aggregation and breaking news posts I’ll still be doing at night.”
Mr. Trotter has been a Gawker contributor since finishing a six-month fellowship at The Atlantic last month, and he’s already had one major scoop. A few weeks ago, he broke the news that David Petraeus was receiving $200,000 for teaching one three hour class at CUNY. (The New York Times reported on Monday that CUNY had bowed to public pressure and reduced his salary to $1.)
Mr. Cook’s email below:
Hello everyone. I’m really very quite happy and pleased and thrilled and delighted to announce a few changes:
1. Leah Beckmann will heretofore be known as the assistant managing editor of Gawker.com. This change is technically a masthead promotion, but it’s more about making her title in line with her current duties here, which involve a lot more authority than “associate editor” implies. She is basically the engine of this site, taking in obnoxious orders/requests from me and Tom and outputting a seamless flow of crackling copy, making sure that all the posts get care and attention, dealing with freelancers, helping manage all you weirdos, etc. She will be getting and exercising more authority as this title change goes to her head. (But there’s no managing editor here, you say? Give her time!)
2. J.K. Trotter, known to his friends as Keenan, will be joining us as a staff writer. Keenan was most recently a fellow over at Gabe Snyder’s Atlantic Wire, and before that he ran IvyGate (where he broke the story of Aleksey Vayner’s death through astute Facebook surveillance and shoe leather). Keenan will be loosely covering the “scandal” beat I outlined many months ago in a job posting that never really pulled in any candidates as qualified as he is. He’ll also be on the college beat, leveraging his IvyGate experience to find college kids doing dumb/funny/excreble things. He just cost David Petraeus $200,000, which is about as great a try-out as you can ask for. He’ll be starting on August 5 so say hi, etc.
3. Taylor Berman, who has been guarding over us at night as a freelancer, will also be coming on as a staff writer. Because he is so good at his job, he will be staying on nights for the time being, but he’ll be starting his shifts at 4 p.m. each day to take advantage of some daylight to report out longer pieces we can run on the dayside. I’m excited to see him working on stories outside the night-time run-and-gun mode that he’s proven himself so adept at. I’m also excited for him to get a little more human contact. Taylor’s going on vacation next week and then he’ll start as a full-time staffer when he gets back.
OK that’s it! I love you all dearly.
This post has been updated with comments from Mr. Trotter and Mr. Berman.