Via many media yesterday came news of USA Today laying off a bunch of folks, including Pop Candy’s Whitney Matheson, following a 15 year run. A few may remember in the VERY VERY early days of this site, Whitney was a blogging nemesis, bearing in mind that when we both started there were only four blogs. The pretend “feud” lasted about five minutes, and ended as soon as I met Whit and found out what an awesomely kind, smart and talented person she was.
Seriously there is not a person on earth who is nicer than Whitney.
Just to prove it, she spent the day after being laid off not sulking or crying but answering tweets to her on Twitter with the same friendly open approach that she uses with everything.
This isn’t an obit, as Whitney’s talents will be snatched up I’m sure. But I will say that she pioneered the “nerd pop culture” blog at USA Today and covered comics along with movies, TV, film and music, and with the exact same degree of passion. I have no idea how Whitney processed all the information she did—if you think I work hard, it would take five Heidis to do what one Whitney did.
I’d also like to mention her meetups at San Diego, which the above poster is from. These ended when Gannett got too cheap to send her out there. They were great events where all kinds of people, from Hope Larson to Joss Whedon, showed up. Nothing like them any more…
Anyway, good luck to a friend and colleague.
Here’s some more tributes to Pop Candy and Whitney:
I still remember handling PR for Yahoo!’s entertainment brands (which were totes ahead of its time, BTW!) and any time we’d get a mention on Pop Candy, my colleagues and I would squeal with a fervor typically seen only at One Direction concerts. Pop Candy was always our holy grail simply because we read and loved it.
The best part about PR is getting to see clients that you love covered by media that you deeply respect and often read yourself. A day didn’t go by when I didn’t read Pop Candy, and when I did skip a day, I felt like pop culture was passing me by and I was still wearing stonewashed jeans (“What do you mean Counting Crows aren’t cool anymore??”). Pop Candy was like my Facebook feed before it became Upworthy clickbait and annoying memes. I discovered things on it.
Here is one from the archives: A CNN iReport put together by Jennifer Daydreamer and yours truly, this is an impromptu interview with James Sime, owner of Isotope, The Comic Book Lounge, that segued into an impromptu interview with Whitney Matheson. The discussion here involves the state of comics, which is always evolving, and how they coexist with Hollywood. This is from 2010, the year that “Scott Pilgrim” and “The Walking Dead” were big winners at the Eisner Awards at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
Whitney hosted some awesome Pop Candy meetups through the years. Well, perhaps there will be something similar in the future.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.