In the new role, Banikarim will oversee all editorial operations for eight sites: Gizmodo, Deadspin, Jezebel, Jalopnik, Kotaku, Lifehacker, Splinter, and The Root.
Banikarim will be based at GMG’s headquarters in New York and report to Gizmodo Media Group CEO Raju Narisetti, who joined last fall from News Corp. She officially starts at the company Sept. 5.
Banikarim’s “proven journalism credentials, her expertise in multimedia storytelling, her well-known track record of mentoring talent, and her passion and enthusiasm for our sites made her a clear choice for this critical role,” Narisetti said in announcing her hire.
Univision completed its acquisition of the six Gawker Media sites last year, a deal that excluded the flagship Gawker.com site, which ceased publishing in August. Nick Denton’s Gawker Media declared bankruptcy after the company lost a $140 million judgment in Hulk Hogan’s invasion of privacy lawsuit stemming from portions of a sex video with the wrestler posted on Gawker.com. The lawsuit was funded by tech billionaire Peter Thiel, who has had grudge against Gawker over a 2007 article that identified him as gay.
GMG’s leadership team also includes COO Lauren Bertolini and general counsel and EVP Lynn Oberlander. Reporting to Banikarim will be GMG executive managing editor Alex Dickinson, along with the group’s site editors, newsroom video, social and audience, and art department leadership.
Banikarim most recently has been a filmmaker-in-residence at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, where she is producing and directing a documentary on media coverage of the 2016 presidential election.
She served as chief content officer of Vocativ for two years, departing in January 2017, where she oversaw content and operational functions including editorial, video, audience, and analytics as well as the product and development teams. Prior to that, Banikarim helped launch the first season of Katie Couric’s syndicated talk show “Katie” as an editorial producer for Disney ABC Television Group in 2012. She also was deputy director of editorial at Newsweek Daily Beast, where she launched its video efforts and executive produced Daily Beast TV.
Banikarim began her career at ABC News, where she held a range of roles including senior producer for “ABC World News” and anchor producer for Diane Sawyer, George Stephanopoulos, Charlie Gibson and David Muir.
“I’m thrilled and honored to be joining this incredibly talented group of people at an organization with such a rich and important legacy,” Banikarim said in a statement. “This is an important moment in media — and history — and the value of journalism that speaks directly to a diverse set of communities while holding the powerful to account, challenging the status quo, and exposing hypocrisy cannot be overstated.”
Banikarim also was a 2014 Nieman Fellow and lecturer at Harvard University. She is a cum laude graduate of Barnard College and has a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of Journalism.
GMG’s collection of sites, along with The Onion, The A.V. Club and Clickhole, are part of the Fusion Media Group’s digital network, attracts about 90 million unique visitors monthly, according to comScore.