From the Editor: Fear The Fin will no longer be supported by Vox Media
This is my final post.
There have been a few times since I’ve been at this site that I’ve been tasked with sitting down and delivering bad news. It sucks every single time. I still haven’t found a good way to open these kinds of posts — contrary to what some people on Twitter might want you to believe, there’s no “good way” to talk about people losing their jobs.
So let’s cut to the chase: As of Feb. 28, Fear The Fin will no longer be supported by Vox Media. Earlier this month, Vox Media laid off several prominent figures at SB Nation, including our NHL Editorial Manager. Additional cuts at SB Nation included the majority of our community podcasts across all leagues, several of our NBA sites and all of our MLS and hockey sites.
Before my haters get too excited, I still have a job. You’ll continue to see me in your comments across the network. But with the announcement that SB Nation will no longer be covering hockey, I am officially stepping away from Fear The Fin.
When I took over the site in 2017, I was working multiple retail jobs, while juggling all of the freelance hockey writing I could handle. I made a couple hundred dollars a month to run this place, while making pennies from other outlets. Back then, my dream job was to do hockey coverage at The Ringer, something that feels a little embarrassing now.
When I was hired full-time at SB Nation in Jan. 2020, I thought this job was going to look one way. I don’t really have to explain what happened a few weeks later. The world changed, sports changed, my job changed. And then my job changed again. And then it changed again.
For awhile now, my job has been a bit unwieldy. What I do here — and what many of our site managers do with the other hockey sites that used to make up SB Nation — is often a full-time job within itself. As many of you know, I’ve also been part of the team that runs our commenting platform and as that has expanded to our entire network, it has also become a full-time effort.
It wasn’t all that long ago that I was told Fear The Fin would be mine for as long as I wanted it. The truth is, however, that it could only remain mine with the support of Vox Media. With all of the changes I’ve endured over the last several years, can you even argue it was ever something that was mine, anyway? I’ve never really thought of this as being “my” blog. This site is a lot of things — it’s a community, it’s a blog, it’s the writers and readers — but it’s never been mine.
My position at Fear The Fin allowed me space to step back from being a primary content producer, to using this site to get people a foot in the door in the industry and I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in that way. That is the Fear The Fin that I want to see live on: one that champions the incredible fanbase we have by representing them in the press box.
Without the support from Vox, I can’t do that.
While there’s still a month left to go before the lights get turned off, with the way the Sharks’ schedule lines up next month, it just doesn’t make sense for us to sputter along toward our inevitable death. I’ve spent every day since this announcement was made feeling like I’m attending my own funeral, and the funerals of so many friends and colleagues. I don’t want to drag it out any longer, especially not after how callously this went down.
This move by Vox Media is pushing people out of the industry. It’s killing a talent pipeline that was able to put more marginalized journalists and bloggers in press boxes across multiple countries. It’s removing what is, for some markets, the only site covering their team on a regular basis. SB Nation is giving up on hockey, despite the growing number of former SB Nation hockey bloggers now working for the league, or teams or other major publications.
I’m furious and disappointed and so incredibly heartbroken. This community welcomed me, trusted me and allowed for so many writers to flourish here. You have always been the best Sharks fans on the internet. I’m angry that I can’t keep this going for you.
There is an effort being made by former NHL site managers to keep the network together on another platform. I would trust those folks with my life — so if Fear The Fin pops up somewhere else in the future, and if they’re behind it, please know that it’s in good hands. If you loved what I did here, you’ll love wherever they take the blog to next. It’s just my time to call it quits.
If you’re interested in what I’m doing next ... well, shoot, so am I. I’ve got a few things in the works, but since they won’t be related to what I do at SB Nation anymore, you’ll have to follow me elsewhere to keep up on what I’m up to. If you liked anything I did here and want to collaborate in the future, feel free to reach out.
Before I leave and lock the door behind me, here are a few thank yous that are overdue:
Marcus White: Without you, I would never have taken this job in the first place, so thanks for ruining my life. You made me believe I could do this.
Kyle Demetrius: My OG partner. You always reminded me why I love this stupid team and even stupider sport.
Sheng Peng: Your expertise and passion was a game-changer. Sharks Territory absolutely adores you.
JD Young: You once told me you can’t believe how far this has taken you, but I’m not surprised at all. You’re the true heart of this fanbase.
Kat Pitré: You are a constant reminder of why I do what I do, and what it means to lift up others. I am just endlessly proud of you.
To everyone who ever had a byline while I was here: May Cortez, Bryan del Fava, East Bay Ry, Erik Johnsgard, Aya Newman, Maddie Dutra, Angela Smith, Erika Towne, Haley Van Horn, Timur K, Christopher Mendoza, James Domizio, Panagiotis Mavridis, Lachlan Irvine, Cami Hong, Josh Frojelin, Bryan Bastin, Jay Neemeyer, Lakshya Jain, CheechYou, Eddie Razo, Joe Cuevas, Ian McLaren, Steve Fishman, Rob Nolan, Robyn Leaño and more I’m sure I’m forgetting ... all of you made Fear The Fin what it is. You were always the best and most important part of all of this. If you can hire any of these people, they’ve all got my absolute strongest of recommendations.
And of course, to you, dear reader! Thank you for sticking with us through the years. Thank you for the laughs and rants. Thank you for being there for me, and for so many of us, when we needed Sharks Territory’s kindness and camaraderie. Thank you for being the best Sharks fans on the internet.