Back in 2017, SB Nation was looking to establish more editorial leadership across its flagship site as well as the vast network of team- and sport-centric blogs. The Vox property named Elena Bergeron editor-in-chief to lead that effort.
The move was officially deemed part of an effort to grow the site and network, but unofficially it came on the heels of various dramas surrounding SB Nation writers who had plagiarized content and made provocative tweets about women. There was also the controversial long-form article about former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw and his numerous sexual assaults were viewed as attempting to portray him sympathetically. That piece effectively killed SB Nation’s long-form efforts, and the outlet shifted its focus elsewhere.
In the years since, SB Nation has cemented its role in the daily lives of online sports fans and Bergeron has overseen much of those efforts. However, according to an internal email sent Wednesday by Vox Media publisher Melissa Bell, Bergeron’s time atop the editorial department has come to an end. Bergeron is not only stepping down but also overseeing the transition to a new editor-in-chief before leaving altogether on March 15 (via Deadspin).:
I’m writing today to announce that Elena Bergeron – our Editor In Chief of SB Nation – will be stepping down March 15. As the first ever EIC of SB Nation, Elena held a deep commitment to high-quality editorial content, building communities of creators, and serving a diverse network of 75 million passionate fans. Under her leadership, SB Nation reached more fans across the country than ever before, launched a network of over 75 podcasts, produced its first television show, grew its YouTube audience over 200% and won its first ASME. Elena also advocated for great writers and quality storytelling, hiring some of the most diverse talent in sports writing today and steering some of SB Nation’s most ambitious work – from documenting the premier soccer league in Kenya’s largest refugee camp to creating an NABJ award-winning timeline coverage of the Colin Kaepernick saga.
A job listing for the position has been posted on Vox’s careers page. The new chief will be asked to “determine the audience, voice, and purpose of SB Nation and communicate your vision clearly to the SB Nation team.” The requirements for candidates lack specifics (or a salary range) but call for “strong management experience and experience building inclusive teams for a high-growth, fast-paced organization.”
Per the email, long-time SB Nation contributor, executive producer, and Shutdown Fullcast co-host Ryan Nanni will be taking over as interim editor-in-chief. Will Buikema will shift over to become SB Nation’s new executive producer, along with running their video unit. Jermaine Spradley will join SB Nation as their interim GM, starting in that role on March 4. It’s unclear how those positions will shift when the EIC role is filled officially.