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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:
Change Communications:

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.



Henry Chamberlain:

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.



  1. Whitney’s meetups were some of the best I’ve ever attended and I met so many amazing people at them. And Whitney is also, as you said, one of the nicest people on the planet. She is a taste maker, no question. I look forward to what she does next and whatever she does is going to be the thing to watch/read. No question.

  2. As a former employee of USA Today and someone who was laid off at the Washington Post after 10 years, I wish Whitney all the best.

  3. I dabbled on the site briefly, but it got too much to keep up with.

    I did admire the community she created, especially at a major news site like USA Today.

    If NPR is clever, they will give her a show and tie it into Monkey See.
    I’m thinking a kindler, cooler “McLaughlin Report”.

    But I wouldn’t be surprised to see her go independent with her own site.

  4. As one of the rockstars I had the great joy of being an Eisner judge with back in 2007, I’m sad to hear this news but certain Whitney will move on to even bigger and better things! She was an indefatigable fellow judge, is an articulate and enthusiastic fan of all media, and a great lady to grab a drink with and talk comics. I salute her and wish her the best in whatever new venture she pursues!

  5. I totally remember your nemesis! The few things I read of hers were great. Hope she lands on her feet somewhere soon.

  6. I have read Pop Candy since Whitney started writing it. I’m so saddened by this news…but I hope that it leads to bigger and better things. There are many a comic I wouldn’t have picked up if not for her!

  7. I enjoyed her blog. It always had some interesting links. I can see why she was laid off though. She was out of work a lot, and the blog would be dark for a week at a time. I will miss reading it though.

  8. I’ve been checking the PopCandy site for days wondering where all the new updates were! This is terrible. Thanks so much for doing a tribute so at least I was able to find out what happened. Loved checking in with Whit every morning. Very excited to follow her on to her next gig.

  9. I am so bummed. i have been reading Pop Candy every day for the last 5 years and i am disheartened that Whitney will not be on USA today anymore. Just deleted it from my bookmarks and i may have to delete USA today from my reading.

  10. Pop Candy was the only reason I read that miserable rag of a mcpaper. Whitney, you’ll be missed. Hope to see you with bigger and better things

  11. I will miss Whitney’s Pop Candy blog. She helped this 60+ yr old feel like she was keeping up with current trends. I found many new movies, music etc through her blog. She was kind enough to answer an email I sent her when I couldn’t remember the name of True Adventure – a movie I liked a lot & made me a real fan of Mark Duplass? It’s apparent that USA Today is holding on by a thread.

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