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A.V. Club Exodus Continues as Todd VanDerWerff Becomes Vox's First Culture Editor

by Sam Adams
June 19, 2014 12:42 PM
  • |, the data journalism site founded by the Washington Post's Ezra Klein, announced today that Todd VanDerWerff has been hired as their first Culture Editor. Erik Adams and Sonia Saraiya will be handling T.V. Club in the immediate future; VanDerWerff starts his new job June 30.

Criticwire has reached out to VanDerWerff for comment on how he plans to approach the new gig -- I'm especially curious about how his dedication to long-form criticism jibes with Vox's stats-heavy approach -- and he's posted a personal reminiscence to his Tumblr about his journey so far. But in the meantime, it's worth noting that this is the third major defection from the A.V. Club in the last year: Staffers Nathan Rabin, Tasha Robinson and Genevieve Koski, along with prolific freelancer Noel Murray, left to found the Dissolve with former film editor Scott Tobias and former editor Keith Phipps last June; managing editor Kyle Ryan left in April to join Entertainment Weekly; and now VanDerWerff will be gone by the end of next week. (Disclosure: I write for the Dissolve and worked with every person mentioned in this paragraph during their time at the A.V. Club.)

The A.V. Club remains a powerful brand, and that new editor A.A. Dowd managed to rebuild a robust film section even after losing most of the site's critics in one fell swoop. (General Manager Josh Modell, who in the wake of the Dissolve announcement, proclaimed himself "A.V. Club for Life," remains, as does music editor Marah Eakin.) But that's an enormous amount of turnover for one site to handle, and it will be interesting to see how it fills yet another editorial vacuum.
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  • Casper Trickbone | June 23, 2014 1:46 PMReply

    Rarely more than a self-obsessed, narcissistic fanboy -- good riddance.

  • Dwigt | June 19, 2014 7:43 PMReply

    TVDW was both the main asset and the main irritating thing in the TV section.
    The guy was passionated about what he reviewed, and aimed at long, articulate pieces about the stuff he was interested in.
    But the pieces also tended more and more to be about himself, and his previous views on a show, and the team he had assembled was often more of a hive mind than people offering different perspectives. The two-writer reviews were always more about similar views and putting together a review faster than opening a real debate.

  • Cidvard | July 7, 2014 3:24 PM

    I think main asset and main irritant is a very apt description.

    He's a critic I like to read if he can restrict the navel-gazing, but I hadn't loved much of his AVClub content for awhile. I found myself much preferring what he wrote for the LA Times and Grantland recently, probably because he had to work with an editor who would give actual feedback on his pieces. I can't imagine you get that when you're the boss of your editorial staff.

  • Ron | June 19, 2014 3:51 PMReply

    Thank god. The TV Club was the only thing worth going there for these days, and now that Todd is headed out, I feel safe in finally sailing out to other seas.

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