Announcement from Sports Editor Matt Vita and Managing Editors Cameron Barr and Emilio Garcia-Ruiz:

We are excited to announce the creation of Launcher, a new section from the Sports department of The Post devoted to covering video gaming and esports.

Debuting Oct. 15, Launcher will feature coverage and analysis of the people, companies, teams and trends that make up this rapidly growing industry. Combining deep familiarity with the video gaming world and The Post’s journalistic excellence, Launcher will offer accountability reporting, cultural exploration, artistic criticism and instructive guides.

Sports assignment editor Mike Hume, who came up with the idea of pursuing this coverage area, will lead the Launcher team as the site’s editor. Mike joined The Post in 2014, after five years at ESPN, to oversee our reporters covering the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball. He also edited Neil Greenberg’s Fancy Stats blog, and as hockey editor spearheaded The Post’s award-winning coverage of the Capitals’ Stanley Cup championship in 2018. Mike has been hard at work for months, along with a growing team: Audience’s Gene Park (reporter), Video’s Jhaan Elker (video producer) and Design’s Joseph Moore (art director).

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Gene joined The Post in 2015 as a founding member of the embed team. He quickly became known for his Weekly Email of Digital Greatness, an early attempt to keep the newsroom abreast of the rapidly expanding world of social media. Gene drove several of the team’s most successful social media experiments, helping new readers find our journalism. From the earliest uses of Facebook Live to more recent appearances in our Twitch streams, Gene has often been the first to suggest exploring a new platform. He has also been a strong advocate for reader engagement, responding to reader questions and explaining how our journalism comes together. That most often happened on Reddit, where Gene piloted the first national news account by a major publisher, which won “Audience Honor” Shorty Award for Emerging Platform and was a finalist for WAN-IFRA’s “Best in Social Media.”

Jhaan joins Launcher after a successful stint covering technology in Business and working briefly in National. In his time at The Post, Jhaan has covered Apple announcements and CES, Jibo and Pokémon Go. He worked with Geoff Fowler to develop his entertaining and popular technology reviews. Jhaan joined The Post in 2013 as a member of our video operations team and has provided support for many of our live shows. His favorite video games include the Mass Effect Trilogy and Majora’s Mask.

Joe is the lead designer on the Launcher project, handling the art direction and the building out of special projects related to the initiative. He has already helped craft the look and feel of the new section in collaboration with the Product team. Joe has been at The Post since 2016 after coming to us from The Boston Globe. Since his arrival, Joe has done design work in every section of the newsroom. Among the projects he helped design are Too Many Men and the upcoming 2020 candidate pages.

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The Launcher team will be joined by two new hires:

Mikhail Klimentov will join the site as an editor. Mikhail comes to us from Atlantic 57, The Atlantic’s digital consultancy, where he has been an associate editor. He has written for Polygon, Waypoint, and The Atlantic, and was a contributor to the Five/Seven, Atlantic 57's weekly newsletter about digital media. His passion for gaming began with browser games on the LEGO website and took off when he received a bootleg Russian copy of Star Wars Battlefront as a gift from his uncle. He graduated from Columbia University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He grew up outside New York and is fluent in Russian.

Please welcome Mikhail when he starts Oct. 28.

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Elise Favis joins Launcher as a reporter. Elise most recently worked at Game Informer, one of the world’s most widely read gaming publications with a circulation of more than seven million. She spent the past three years at the magazine and website as an associate editor, and also wrote about mental health and LGBTQ issues in the gaming world. Her reporting included an investigation of problematic labor practices and workplace culture issues at game development studios. Fluent in French and a native of Montreal, Elise graduated from Concordia University with a degree in journalism.

Please welcome her when she starts Oct. 21.

Launcher will reside on The Post’s website, as a subsection of Sports, as well as at Launcher.gg. Follow the coverage on Twitter (@LauncherWP) and Instagram (@Launcher).

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