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Farewell, io9, It's Time for Me to Return to My Home Planet

Dearest io9ers, this is it: After many years and almost as many job titles, it is time for me to say goodbye.

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I started here as an intern in 2010, just out of college and with no idea what I wanted to do. The job market was bad, so after a while toiling in the writing fields and retail, I gave up and went to law school. My idealism prompted me to think that if I couldn’t write on the internet for a living, I could maybe help fight for the rights of people who did. I, in fact, went to law school with dreams of one day working at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

And then, while I was in law school, something amazing happened: io9 had some money to hire a researcher, which is what I did while also trying to graduate. Staring down the barrel of a truly miserable career in law, Annalee Newitz saved me by offering me a job as the night editor here.

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I owe Annalee and Charlie Jane Anders a lot for everything they’ve taught me. I owe Rob Bricken a lot for being the most understanding boss I’ve ever had. To Lauren Davies and Meredith Woerner, the backbone of the culture end of the site when I worked here, whom I emulated whenever possible. To Robbie, Cyriaque, Graeme, Kaila, Robbie, Ria, Alasdair, Evan, Cheryl, Germain, Beth, Charles, and Julie, io9ers past and present, thank you.

I want to also thank everyone else at this company, and I’m going to forget names, but to the lovely people at Gizmodo who welcomed me when I was the only io9er in the New York office, thanks for everything. To Alex Cranz and Christina Warren, who were like my coven in the Gizmodo pod. And to the rest of the writers and editors here who tirelessly made it one of the best places to work: Tommy, Marchman, Patrick, Mike, Raph, Riley—and so many more. I will miss you all.

But especially, thanks to James Whitbrook, the Zan to my Jayna, for literally being my best friend at this place for years and years, when everyone else left us.

Original photo by Victor Jeffries, photoshop by James Whitbrook
Original photo by Victor Jeffries, photoshop by James Whitbrook
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I have done some amazing work here, protected by people who believed that saying things was worth whatever blowback we got from studios. I once spent an entire week heaping praise on Star Trek, still my favorite franchise, and also pointed out the many flaws in the studio’s handling of it. I have the scars from CBS’ PR team to prove it.

To the commenters, especially those of you night owls from my first full-time job as night editor: thank you. You made some lonely work nights a pleasure.

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I’ll still be around these parts, in the comments if nowhere else, but I’ll also be on Twitter, if you want screencaps of Anthony Rapp’s face in Star Trek: Discovery. I’m leaving to work at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, so in a way, life has come full circle.

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LLAP.

Katharine is the former managing editor of io9.

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DISCUSSION

James Whitbrook

When I was new at io9 and only slightly more of a bumbling idiot who didn’t know what the hell I was doing than I am now, Katharine was my guiding hand. The person I could go to to translate some gobbledegook Britishism into language someone other than me could actually understand, a sounding board for ideas. Most importantly, a person to calm me down whenever I would frequently freak out about things I absolutely assumed meant we were all about to be fired and replaced by robots that would just occasionally shout out buzzwords and then post those buzzwords on Twitter.

But aside from being incredibly patient to put up with my constant nonsense, we both quickly discovered how alarmingly alike and in sync with each other we are, despite the fact we’ve spent 3 years working literally oceans apart from each other and have spent most of that time together chatting to each other in Slack. We’d finish each other’s sentences. Have exactly the same take on a piece of news at it come in and what to say about it. We once tried to start a new regular feature where we’d debate each other about something, and then dropped it after the first one, because we realised that we were actually incapable of finding something we vehemently disagreed with each other on.

Katharine is blisteringly smart, and funny, and talented, and all these other superlatives, and has allowed me to get away with doing a lot of dumb, good things on io9, things that will still be less good (but still very dumb), in her absence. She is at least going on to do much more important and braver things at the EFF than, say, ranking Star Wars character names based on a scale represented by our shared love of Poe Dameron. But while the world is gaining a fearless advocate for the Internet as we all know and love it, I will always regret losing a colleague I respect and admire so dearly. Ex Astris, Scientia, Katharine.