Following a brief stint at social-viral manufacturing plant BuzzFeed, writer Ayesha Siddiqi has been named the new editor-in-chief of The New Inquiry, a non-profit literary journal based out of New York. Siddiqi writes in a memo obtained by Gawker:
The New Inquiry’s staff has distinguished itself through their exploration of ideas removed from the pretensions of either academic journals or the biases of traditional media. I am proud to be named The New Inquiry’s first succeeding Editor-in-Chief since Rachel Rosenfelt co-founded the magazine in 2009.
Siddiqi, who first drew attention in media circles thanks to her popular Twitter account, @pushinghoops, frayed a few nerves over at BuzzFeed, where she had been hired in December to build BuzzFeed Ideas, the site’s version of an op-ed page. While the job apparently required a certain combativeness—its listing asked for candidates with “at least 2 years’ experience arguing on the internet”—Siddiqi’s own brand of fast, voluble criticism drew BuzzFeed management’s repeated scrutiny whenever she directed it as her own colleagues’ work, both in internal emails and on Twitter.
We’re told that Siddiqi was fired over a series of tweets and retweets on May 21 regarding BuzzFeed’s news coverage of global terrorism and Islam. That night, the editor retweeted several people slamming a quiz assembled by BuzzFeed staffer Miriam Berger (“How Much Do You Actually Know About Terrorism, Anyway?”):
The same evening, BuzzFeed reporter J. Lester Feder published a story about a Malaysian court’s anticipated ruling on whether the country’s “sharia law” violates the rights of transgender women. Shortly thereafter, and without linking to Feder’s story, Siddiqi ridiculed his article’s language—“Islamic code,” “Islamist ruling party,” “Sharia code”—for a lack of precision.
Exactly how the resulting dismissal unfolded within BuzzFeed, we’re not exactly sure, and neither Siddiqi nor her former employer would discuss specific details on the record. But a BuzzFeed employee familiar with the circumstances of Siddiqi’s termination said her semi-veiled criticism of colleagues on Twitter last week was a precipitating factor.
The fate of BuzzFeed Ideas, meanwhile, remains uncertain.
[Photo credit: BuzzFeed]