Another excellent Op-ed from the New Yorker
Gawker’s Essential Uneveness
But Gawker’s real cause of death, people will say, and have said, was
Gawker. Not Peter Thiel, not Hulk Hogan, not the jurors in Florida—not
any of the culprits that Max Read, the onetime Gawker editor, listed in a piece for New York magazine,
his new employer, this week—but simply the manner in which the site
operated: the combativeness, the lack of respect, the speed of the
writing and editing and publishing, the relative absence of
organizational hierarchy instituted by Nick Denton and the editors who
worked for him.
These attributes made Gawker singular in the online world. In 2014, the
horde of anti-woman Internet denizens behind the controversy known as
Gamergate tried to put the company out of business by alerting
advertisers to a Gawker writer’s sarcastic call, on Twitter, to “bring
back bullying.” Ad sales would eventually take a hit that may have reached a million dollars. Max Read published a post telling the Gamergaters to eat it. (That was my first week in the office; my last was the bankruptcy—truly, it was an invigorating time.)
As a result, Gawker drew and cultivated a certain kind of person, and
the alumni continue to have considerable influence. Choire Sicha and
Alex Balk founded The Awl. Emily Gould established a poorly imitated
model for much of women’s media. Lockhart Steele became the editorial
director of Vox Media. Their tone-setting voices were cultivated at
Gawker because of Nick Denton’s unusual commitment to letting writers do
whatever they want.
In the end, it was the freedom to write about whatever they wanted, without having to worry about the consequences that ended things.
This is probably the #1 reason why I would continue to go to Gawker for news, is that it was completely unbiased, and often raw (too much so, at sometimes) and there are many amazing and talented writers that worked there. They took Gamergaters ad-revenue hits on the chin, and didn’t flinch. Whether you agree with the brash or even upsettingly gross tone, they were willing to take the risks and get hurt (money wise) for saying what they believed in.