Dashiell Bennett named editor of The Wire

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Dashiell Bennett. (The Atlantic)
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The Atlantic has named a new editor for its news curation website, The Wire.

News editor Dashiell Bennett has been promoted to the top masthead slot, the company announced today, replacing Gabriel Snyder, who left the company five months ago and now works for Bloomberg Media Group.

The appointment will presumably calm some nerves in The Wire's small newsroom of about a dozen, which has been characterized as being a bit rudderless ever since Snyder's departure, after which Andrew Golis was named general manager of the site.

When Snyder, who'd been at the helm for several years, resigned in January, Golis began a search for his successor, and Wire journalists were beginning to wonder what was taking so long. (Several of them didn't stick around long enough to find out.)  

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C.J.R. reported last week that "staffers were told that the editor in chief search had been halted and that departed staffers would not be replaced in the immediate future," raising questions about the status of the site. (A Wire spokesperson pushed back on those claims.)

Turns out Golis didn't have to look very far. But the spokesperson, Anna Bross, told Capital there was a "comprehensive search" that included both internal and external candidates. (Disclosure: I worked with Bennett at Business Insider; I worked with Golis at Yahoo News.)

“We looked long and hard for the best person to run The Wire,” said Atlantic co-presidents James Bennet and Bob Cohn in a statement. “In the end, Dash combined the deepest understanding of the core mission of the site with the clearest vision for its possibilities. And while our search was underway, he demonstrated his leadership ability by helping our writers steadily sharpen their work and continue to grow their audience.”

It's only been about six months since The Wire was given a more autonomous perch within Atlantic Media—publisher of The Atlantic, National Journal, Quartz and other titles—with its own sales staff and a new name. (It was previously called The Atlantic Wire.)

The Atlantic brand is a profitable one that has pinned its success in recent years to an aggressive digital expansion, including the The Wire, which has an audience of roughly 5.4 million.

The company felt the erstwhile Atlantic Wire's growth potential was stymied by its titular attachment to an august legacy print institution. So it renamed and relaunched the site hoping to lure advertisers that are more in line with a younger, digital-first audience.

The jury's still out on whether it's working and Bross did not immediately have information about new advertisers. But M. Scott Havens, who was The Atlantic's president until taking a job at Time Inc. earlier this year, told Capital in November that The Wire is "around a break-even product" and that "there was a belief that we could accelerate that by putting some dedicated resources on it." He also said at the time that the plan was to double the size of the sales, marketing and editorial teams over the next 18 months.

Bennett will now be responsible for "continuing The Wire’s growth in traffic and impact," according to the company's announcement. Golis will continue to lead the site's recruitment and business strategy, the announcement said.

He also has another trick up his sleeve, as Capital first reported last week: a new digital project called This. that will serve as a platform for newsworthy, highly recommended links.