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Daily Beast Hires Executive Editor; Promotes John Avlon to Editor-In-Chief (Updated)

Noah Shachtman, formerly of Foreign Policy and Wired, assumes to No. 2 position behind Avlon

The Daily Beast has hired former Wired editor Noah Shachtman as executive editor, TheWrap has learned. Shachtman will start Feb. 1.

Acting interim executive editor John Avlon has been promoted to editor in chief, filling the role vacated by Tina Brown shortly after the site split from Newsweek in August 2013, according to an internal memo.

Also read: Peter Beinart Leaving Daily Beast for Atlantic and Haaretz, Ending Open Zion (Updated)

Shachtman most recently ran Foreign Policy’s newsroom as executive editor, but earned his digital stripes as co-founder and editor of Wired’s “Danger Room” blog, which focuses on national security. The blog won a National Magazine Award for reporting in digital media in 2012 and an Online Journalism Award for beat reporting in 2007.

The memo also touts new hires including columnists and contributors like Kelly Williams Brown, Dean Obidallah, and P.J. O’Rourke.

Here’s Avlon’s memo to the staff obtained by TheWrap:

Dear Fellow Beasts:

I am pleased to announce that Noah Shachtman is joining The Daily Beast as Executive Editor, effective February 1st.

Noah is an accomplished digital-first journalist and joins us after working at Foreign Policy as Executive Editor for News, where his team reeled in big scoops on Syria, the NSA scandals, and the CIA drone program. He is perhaps best known as co-founder and editor of Wired’s Danger Room blog, which won a National Magazine Award for reporting in digital media and an Online Journalism Award for best beat reporting. He’s a respected mentor of young talent and he’s got the right aggressive news metabolism for The Daily Beast. As a former professional bass player, campaign staffer and long-suffering Knicks fan, Noah understands both sides of the high-low, politics and pop-culture news mix that makes The Daily Beast a distinct destination and a growing success.

The Daily Beast grew 35% over the past year, averaging 13.7 million unique visitors a month as measured by Omniture. Our homepage and article design refresh, led by Chief Digital Officer Mike Dyer, has resulted in increased time spent on the site per visit and improved advertising performance. In another sign of vibrant growth, The Daily Beast’s social media referrals rose 44% over the past year and our Facebook and Twitter communities more than doubled in 2013.

Noah joins other notable new hires in the New Year at The Daily Beast. Senior Culture Editor Tim Teeman previously worked as Arts and Culture Editor of the Times of London and published the book ‘In Bed with Gore Vidal’ last year. Senior News Editor Justin Miller joined us from New York magazine and Cheat Sheet writer Emily Shire joined us from The Week. Brian Ries is taking the helm of our new Tech + Health vertical (already up 105% in average daily unique visitors over the more general Business section it replaced). Scott Bixby joins The Daily Beast as our Social Media Editor after playing the same role at Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Businessweek. Well-deserved promotions over the past month include Marcia Allert as Photo Editor and Katie Baker as Foreign Editor. New columnists and contributors include Keli Goff, Sally Kohn, James Kirchick, Kristen Soltis Anderson, Dean Obidallah, Kelly Williams Brown, Kevin Bleyer and the legendary libertarian humorist P.J. O’Rourke.

I’m looking forward to all that’s ahead for The Daily Beast. We’re poised to rise to new heights while focusing on our core strengths. Here’s to a great 2014 for us all.


For the record: A previous version of this story stated that Shactman was stepping into the role vacated by Brown, but Avlon was promoted into her position. TheWrap regrets the error.