February’s GQ publishes a profile of Deadspin editor A.J. Daulerio that’s equal parts fawning, impressed, and depressing. If nothing else, Daulerio is refreshingly honest.
“The Today show called me on a Sunday at two thirty. It was brunch time with my girlfriend and a friend, and I was half in the bag,” he says of his post-Brett Favre dong shot media tour. “A couple of hours and two bong hits later, I’m doing an interview on the porch. Everyone is jamming Adderall to clean the place as quickly as possible. I was trying to find pants.”
The profile paints a portrait of a quality journalist who works the phones and cultivates sources (“He’s a throwback to an earlier era – when journalists had enough charisma to inspire movies,” Nick Denton says of his editor.) who may not be using his powers for good. (“I never wanted people to feel like they needed to take a shower,” Deadspin founder Will Leitch admits when asked about the direction of his former site.)
Daulerio sounds conflicted.
And yet, for all his success, Daulerio seems down. Last fall, he started seeing a shrink for the first time. In fact, he’d just come from an appointment. I ask what’s been troubling him. “You’re just kind of tethered to the machine,” he says. “Socially, there’s no separation whatsoever. It’s like I needed somebody to kind of tell me just, okay, this is what you can do to not do that, to not be this person.”
Whatever you think of the editor, one line from Gabriel Sherman’s opening scene rings true. When discussing the future of sports media in the digital age, the scribe writes “More than any other sports journalist in years, Daulerio has been redefining where that line is, and then crashing over it.”
We didn’t call him “Pageviews” back in 2008 for nothing.