Huffpost UK editor-in-chief Polly Curtis left the news website suddenly yesterday after just over a year in charge.
There was no formal announcement about her departure, although Wednesday has been confirmed as Curtis’s last day at Huffpost UK.
Staff are understood to be in the dark over the reasons behind her exit, but have been assured that their jobs are not at risk.
A spokesperson for Huffpost owners Oath told Press Gazette: “We’d like to thank Polly for her contribution during her time as UK editor-in-chief and wish her all the best with her next chapter.”
They confirmed James Martin, Huffpost’s global managing editor, would be stepping in as interim editor-in-chief while a permanent replacement for Curtis is sought.
Curtis told Press Gazette she could not comment on her departure. She has said nothing on Twitter, but has already changed her bio to read: “former Huffpost UK…”.
Prior to her exit Curtis had made a number of newsroom hires this year, including head of news Jess Brammar – a former Newsnight acting editor who could potentially replace her in the editor’s chair.
More recently Paul Foot Award-winner Emma Youle joined as special correspondent, Amardeep Bassey was appointed as a Birmingham-based reporter – part of Curtis’s bid to break what she described as the “London media bubble” – and investigative reporter Aasma Day also joined.
In an interview with Press Gazette earlier this year for our Journalism Matters podcast, Curtis said she had no plans to hire any more journalists and that her focus now was on scoops.
“The old school journalist in me wants to scoop the opposition, not just in pace, but kind of scoops that make everyone else turn around and look,” she said.
Staff were informed about Curtis’s departure in an email from Huffpost international director Louise Roug yesterday, seen by Press Gazette.
She said: “Polly came to us at a critical moment and led the newsroom through a not-always-easy period of change while spearheading incredible editorial projects including Huffpost Listens in Birmingham.
“She also hired an extraordinary team of senior editors who continue to lead their teams with great creativity and vision… with these and other hires the newsroom is primed for success, and I want to thank Polly for her contribution and dedication.”
Roug and Huffpost global editor Lydia Polgreen were due to meet Huffpost UK staff this morning.
Curtis’s decision to leave appears to have been made on the day yesterday as she shared an advert for a job with Huffpost UK shortly after 9am, adding: “Come and work with us.”
— polly curtis (@pollycurtis) October 10, 2018
Curtis joined Huffpost UK as editor last summer from her role as director of media for the British Red Cross charity. Prior to that she had spent nine years at The Guardian in various roles, including digital editor.
She was only the third editor of Huffpost UK website since its launch in 2011, in which time it has grown from a team of six to more than 40.
Huffpost was founded by Ariana Huffington and partners in 2005, then as the Huffington Post. The group under went a global rebrand in April last year to become HuffPost.