The second life of Grantland continues. Three months after Dan Fierman jumped ship to MTV News (as four editors joined Bill Simmons at his new venture), the site’s erstwhile editorial director has brought on several of his former staffers to revamp the network’s operation.
Deadline first reported that Molly Lambert was joining Fierman at MTV News, saying she would write and podcast for the site. At Grantland, she covered music, movies and TV. Shortly thereafter, Brian Phillips (who wrote features on a variety of topics) announced he was also on board. Word soon circulated that several of their former colleagues would be joining them.
The notable mention there was Holly Anderson, who largely wrote about college football (though her final piece for the site was about the Lumberjack World Championships) at Grantland. But she’ll be covering an entirely different beat (though one which attracts equally fanatical supporters) at MTV News.
Anderson mentioned that she would return to write for Every Day Should Be Saturday when the opportunity presented itself. But it’s the new gig that’s more interesting.
Hiring Anderson to cover politics is quite clever, as that landscape shares many similarities with college football. Fans are rabid in support of their school, conference or candidate — often tied to the region of the country in which they live — and don’t often like to hear opposing views or admit shortcomings. Polls also play an enormously influential role in both arenas. And honestly, it will be refreshing to see different voices and views covering a scene populated by many of the same reporters, columnists and pundits year after year.
Even more ex-Grantlanders announced a move to MTV. Mark Lisanti — also formerly of Movieline, Defamer and Yahoo — will oversee much of the cultural coverage we enjoyed at ESPN’s shuttered site.
(Do we know where Alex Pappademas is going to end up? With so many of his previous colleagues landing at new spots, it seems like only a matter of time before he makes an announcement.)
But Fierman isn’t just getting the band back together at MTV. As the Deadline article mentioned, he’s also bringing some other headline hires, notably Amy Nicholson, who was film critic for LA Weekly and will write contribute film reviews, profiles and longform, along with contributing podcasts.
Additionally, as reported by Politico’s Kelsey Sutton, MTV News is also hiring Ezekiel Kweku, who has written for Vice Sports, in addition to Meaghan Garvey, Jessica Harper, Hazel Cills and David Turner, whose work appeared at Pitchfork. Glad to hear the “M” in MTV will be getting covered well.
Not since the days of Kurt Loder, Tabitha Soren, John Norris and Serena Altschul has MTV News been compelling, covering the intersection of pop culture (especially as it pertained to music) and politics, particularly how issues and current events might affect the network’s decidedly younger viewing audience. How many people who left MTV behind after turning 30 might return for smart pop culture and political coverage, and good writing?