Farewell, New York City

tl;dr – I’m leaving CUNY and NYC, and starting a new gig with Automattic’s VIP/media services team at the beginning of August. I’ll be mostly in Oregon for at least two months, but plans are TBD after that.

Just over a year ago, I decided to pack up almost everything I own and move to the big city. I had just received an offer from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism to work as their digital media manager, the perfect opportunity to hack at both education and journalism. Plus, New York is the nexus of what’s happening with media and technology. So I made the plunge.

And it’s been a really fun ride. The gig at the J-School fit like a glove, and NYC is one of the most vibrant cities on earth. At the J-School, I was given tremendous freedom to explore what’s important for moving journalism education forward. On a daily basis, I’ve done everything from server administration to development to frontend design and implementation to working with students to teaching workshops and classes. Being able to develop a broad range of skills and stretch my mind in different ways is one of the things I value most. Working at the J-School has provided that pleasure.

It’s time to move on to what’s next. On the 30th, I’m flying out of NYC on a one-way ticket. I’m an Oregonian at heart, and need quick access to my outdoors. August 1st, I start a new gig with Automattic’s VIP/media services team, joining awesome and super smart people like Mo, Raanan and others I haven’t had the pleasure of chatting with yet. VIP/media services works with large-scale publishers of all types using WordPress in a variety of ways. I think it’ll be a wonderful fit; most of the work is very similar to what we did with CoPress, but with a bigger playing field. I’m hoping there’s a lot of time for product development too.

Oh yeah, the other big reason for the switch: Michelle is moving to Spain for a year. She’ll be teaching English in the small town of Toro. I don’t think I’ll be there the entire time, visas are hard to come by, but I’m definitely going to visit for extended periods of time. Considering Automattic is a globally distributed company, I’m super tempted to live and work in a new country every month.

To CUNY, one final thought: your competition isn’t NYU or Columbia, it’s Skillshare and General Assembly. Education is being atomized just like news has been atomized; the time-based degree is just as outdated as the article. Like newspapers, you’ll have to radically reinvent your production methodologies to create information products that are relevant and useful to a now perpetually-changing society. The investments you make into your students is your greatest asset; they can become your best teachers, and it’s your charter to make that happen.

Programming notes:

  • I’m offloading a lot of the large stuff I bought when I came to the city. Take a look and help me find a good home for all of it. Furniture to be posted tonight or tomorrow.
  • I’ll be in Boston July 22nd through 24th for WordCamp so this coming weekend is my last weekend in the city. Michelle and I plan to whoop and holler it up.
  • I’m looking for people to live with in either Portland or Eugene. Ideally, I’d like a kickass place I’ll be at for at least a few years. I enjoy cooking (or grilling) for everyone regularly, like nice stuff, and keep things relatively clean. Let me know if you know of anything.

Join the Conversation


  1. Good news for you and for Automattic, bad news for CUNY and NYC. It’s been great working with you here at CUNY. Can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

  2. Dan, congrats on the move and good luck with all your big future plans — especially on the travel front. From a selfish perspective we’ll miss you out here, especially those of us in the CUNY system who were looking forward to seeing what other success you could have hacking their systems …

    Good luck my friend!


  3. Hey Daniel,

    It’s been great working with you for the past year.

    Thanks for all your help and guidance at CUNY and Family Life Behind Bars…And for the great parting advice.

    Best of luck at your new job and at your old place (I totally understand needing the outdoors!)


  4. Congrats, Daniel! The PNW will be happy to have you back and Automattic is lucky to get you on board. Send Michelle my congrats as well.

    Funny sidebar: I was reading this post in the newsroom and a web producer was like, “Hey! That’s Ben Hayes’ friend.” Small world.

  5. So glad I remembered to check your Twitter feed specifically to find out what was going on with the Oregon yearnings. Hurray! And so glad for WP/Automattic too. cartwheel! Now if only we could create two jobs for the SOJC for you, in consultation with me, of course, to transform J-education …

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *