Gawker

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This article is about the blog itself. For its parent company, see Gawker Media.
Gawker
Gawker Logo.png
Web address gawker.com
Commercial? Yes
Type of site
Blog
Owner Gawker Media
Editor Max Read
Launched January 2003
Alexa rank
positive decrease 562 (November 2014)[1]
Current status Active

Gawker is a United States Web blog founded by Nick Denton and Elizabeth Spiers and based in New York City. It promotes itself as "the source for daily Manhattan media news and gossip". It focuses on celebrities and the media industry.

Founded in 2003, Gawker is the flagship blog for Denton's Gawker Media. Gawker has created other blogs, including Defamer and Deadspin, which covers sports.

History[edit]

Gawker was originally edited by Elizabeth Spiers, then by Choire Sicha, from August 2003 to August 2004. When Sicha became editorial director of Gawker Media in August 2004, Jessica Coen was hired to be the website editor. The editor position was split between two co-editors in 2005, and Coen was joined by guest editors from a variety of New York City-based blogs; Matt Haber was engaged as co-editor for several months, and Jesse Oxfeld joined for longer. In July 2006, Oxfeld's contract was not renewed, and Alex Balk was installed. Chris Mohney, formerly of Gridskipper, Gawker Media's travel blog, was hired for the newly created position of managing editor.

In the September 26, 2005, issue, New York Magazine reported Coen's salary as $30,000[1], which was denied in a post on Gawker.[2][2]

On September 28, 2006, Coen announced in a post on Gawker that she would be leaving the site to become deputy online editor at Vanity Fair. Balk shared responsibility for the Gawker site with co-editor Emily Gould. Associate editor Maggie Shnayerson also began writing for the site; she replaced Doree Shafrir, who left in September 2007 for the New York Observer.

In February 2007, Sicha returned from his position at the The New York Observer, and replaced Mohney as the Managing Editor. On September 21, 2007, Gawker announced that Balk would depart to edit Radar magazine's website; he would be replaced by Alex Pareene of Wonkette.

The literary journal n+1 published a long piece on the history and future of Gawker, concluding that, "You could say that as Gawker Media grew, from Gawker’s success, Gawker outlived the conditions for its existence".[3]

In 2008, weekend editor Ian Spiegelman quit Gawker over an unspecified salary dispute. He left a comment on the site denouncing what he said was its practice of hiring full-time employees as independent contractors in order to avoid paying taxes and employment benefits.[4]

On October 3, 2008, Gawker announced that 19 staff members were being laid off in response to expected economic hardships in the coming months. Most came from sites with low ad revenue.[5]

On November 12, 2008, the company announced selling the popular site Consumerist (blog) and the folding of Valleywag, with Managing Editor Owen Thomas being demoted to a columnist on Gawker, and the rest of the staff being laid off. Some members and staff writers complained that owner Nick Denton was looking to sell out all of the Gawker sites while they were still profitable.[6][7]

In December 2009, Denton was nominated for "Media Entrepreneur of the Decade" by Adweek, and Gawker was named "Blog of the Decade" by the advertising trade. Brian Morrissey of Adweek said "Gawker remains the epitome of blogging: provocative, brash, and wildly entertaining".[8]

In February 2010, Denton announced that Gawker was acquiring the "people directory" site CityFile.com, and was hiring that site's editor and publisher, Remy Stern, as the new editor-in-chief of Gawker. Gabriel Snyder, who had been editor-in-chief for the previous 18 months and had greatly increased the site's readership, released a memo saying he was being let go from the job.[9]

In December 2011, A. J. Daulerio, former Editor-in-Chief of Gawker Media sports site Deadspin, replaced Remy Stern as Editor-in-Chief at Gawker. The company replaced several other editors, contributing editors, and authors; others left. Richard Lawson went to the Atlantic Wire, a blog of the magazine, Atlantic Monthly. [10][11]

In 2012, the website changed its focus away from editorial content and toward what its new editor-in-chief A. J. Daulerio called "traffic whoring" and "SEO bomb throws".[12][13] In January 2013 Daulerio reportedly asked for more responsibility over other Gawker Media properties, but after a short time was pushed out by publisher Denton.[14][15] Daulerio was replaced as editor-in-chief by longtime Gawker writer John Cook.[16]

Early in 2014 Max Read became the Gawker's editor-in-chief.

Content[edit]

Gawker usually publishes more than 20 posts daily during the week, sometimes reaching 30 posts a day, with limited publishing on the weekends. The site also publishes content from its sister sites. Gawker's content consists of celebrity and media industry gossip, critiques of mainstream news outlets, and New York-centric stories. The stories generally come from anonymous tips from media employees, found mistakes and faux pas in news stories caught by readers and other blogs, and original reporting.

On July 3, 2006, when publisher Nick Denton replaced Jesse Oxfeld with Alex Balk, Oxfeld claimed it was an attempt to make the blog more mainstream and less media-focused, ending a tradition of heavy media coverage at Gawker.[17]

Gawker Stalker[edit]

On March 14, 2006, Gawker.com launched Gawker Stalker Maps, a mashup of the site's Gawker Stalker feature and Google Maps.[18] After this Gawker Stalker, originally a weekly roundup of celebrity sightings in New York City submitted by Gawker readers, was frequently updated, and the sightings are displayed on a map.

The feature has drawn criticism from celebrities and publicists for encouraging stalking. Actor and director George Clooney's rep Stan Rosenfeld described Gawker Stalker as "a dangerous thing". Jessica Coen has said that the map is harmless, that Gawker readers are "for the most part, a very educated, well-meaning bunch", and that "if there is someone really intending to do a celebrity harm, there are much better ways to go about doing that than looking at the Gawker Stalker".[3][19] Gawker.com/stalker now redirects to gawker.com/tag/stalker and the map is no longer posted online.

Viacom freelancer rights[edit]

Gawker's coverage of benefit cuts announced December 4, 2007, for freelancers working at media company Viacom and the ensuing publicity has been reported as resulting in Viacom'[s reinstating many of the workers' benefits.[20] After Viacom "permalancers" took to the streets for several days to protest the cuts,[20] Gawker reported on December 12, 2007, that the company had reversed its position.[21] On January 31, 2008, Gawker's Maggie Shnayerson reported that Viacom subsidiary MTV Networks would convert 1,000 freelance jobs to full-time positions.[22]

Tom Cruise video[edit]

On January 15, 2008, Gawker mirrored the Scientology video featuring Tom Cruise from the recently removed posting on YouTube.[23] They soon posted a copyright infringement notice written by lawyers for Scientology.[citation needed] As of January 3, 2009, the video has not been removed and no lawsuit was filed.[citation needed]

Sarah Palin email leak[edit]

On September 17, 2008, in reporting that pranksters associated with 4Chan had hacked the personal e-mail account of Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Gawker published screenshots of the emails, photos, and address list obtained by the hackers.[24][25] While accessing personal e-mail accounts without authorization constitutes a federal crime, current DOJ interpretation of this statute following the decision in Theofel v. Farey-Jones is that perpetrators may be prosecuted only for reading "unopened" emails.[26] FBI Spokesman Eric Gonzalez in Anchorage, Alaska, confirmed that an investigation was underway.[27]

Erin Andrews peephole video[edit]

On July 17, 2009, Gawker-owned sports blog Deadspin reported that ESPN lawyers sent a letter to a website owner who was hosting videos of a woman who looked like journalist Erin Andrews. After that story broke, Andrews' attorney confirmed that she was featured in the peephole video.[28]

Eric Dane and Rebecca Gayheart sex video[edit]

On August 17, 2009, Gawker obtained and posted an exclusive video of actor Eric Dane and his wife Rebecca Gayheart naked with Kari Ann Peniche, beauty queen and former Miss Teen USA.[29]

WikiLeaks[edit]

In December 2010, DNS service for WikiLeaks went offline in the United States. Gawker misreported that easyDNS was to blame; EveryDNS was the DNS provider for the domain wikileaks.org. Gawker responded to complaints from easyDNS:

"We will fix. You do or correction. Now stop emailing and calling us, please."

easyDNS complained that they were unjustly scolded after Gawker had slandered them.[30]

Chris Lee Craigslist emails[edit]

In February 2011, Gawker posted an email exchange between United States Congressman Chris Lee and a woman he had met through a personal ad on Craigslist. The emails included the married Lee describing himself as a divorced lobbyist and a photo of him posing shirtless.[31] Lee resigned his Congressional seat within hours of Gawker's story.[31]

2010 data breach incident[edit]

On December 11, 2010, Gawker and Gizmodo were hacked by a group named Gnosis. The hackers gained root access to the Linux-based servers, access to the source code, access to Gawker's custom CMS, databases (including writer and user passwords), Google Apps, and real-time chat logs from Gawker's Campfire instance, in addition to the Twitter accounts of Nick Denton and Gizmodo.[32][33][34] The hacker Group stated that they went after Gawker for their "outright arrogance" and for a previous feud between Gawker and 4Chan.[35] Gawker asked all its users to change their passwords[36] and posted an advisory notice as well.[37]

The following day, a database dump of user credentials, chat logs, and source code of the Gawker website were made available on The Pirate Bay, among other BitTorrent trackers.

2012 Michael Brutsch unmasking[edit]

On October 12, 2012, Adrian Chen posted an article identifying Reddit moderator Violentacrez as Michael Brutsch.[38][39][40] In the days prior to publication of the story, Reddit's main politics channel, r/politics, and a number of other forums on the site banned Gawker links from their page;[41][42] at one point, Gawker was banned from all of Reddit.[43]

2012 editorial change[edit]

In November 2011, Nick Denton announced that Deadspin editor-in-chief A. J. Daulerio would replace Remy Stern as editor-in-chief at Gawker.[44] At the time, Daulerio was most well known for publishing a photograph of Brett Favre's penis at Deadspin, despite the recipient of the photograph, Florida State University Cowgirl Jenn Sterger, explicitly requesting that he not do so.[44][45]

Daulerio shifted the focus of the site away from editorial content and more toward what he described as "traffic-whoring" and "SEO bomb-throws."[12] Daulerio wrote of the site's editorial content contributors, "The writers not relegated to traffic-whoring duty will still post, just less frequently than many of them are probably used to." As part of Daulerio's changes, he printed a private e-mail to Nick Denton from NBC News anchor Brian Williams complaining about the weekend content and its coverage of Lana Del Rey on Saturday Night Live.[13] NBC's public relations department asked the site to take it down, writing, "That was sent in confidence as friends and absolutely never intended to be public".[13] Daulerio responded that e-mails are publishable and that people such as Williams should be "prepared for the tar and feathering that will follow".[13] Williams reportedly received an apology from Denton, but on NBC's news magazine Rock Center, Denton said only that it was a "mess up" but he did not apologize.[13][46]

Daulerio also changed the site's commenter system. In April 2012, all "starred" commenters (people whose comments were automatically given prominence) lost their rankings.[47][48] The new proprietary algorithm to promote comments, called Powwow, is done via a computer as opposed to human commenters.[49] Andrew Phelps, writing for Nieman Journalism Lab, stated, "Half of people think Gawker is diluting its high-quality material with Chinese goats; the other half think Gawker should stick to Chinese goats and stop trying to do real journalism".[49]

Since Daulerio took over the site, many long-time writers political writers left, including Jim Newell, Matt Cherette, Brian Moylan, and Maureen O'Connor.[50][51][52][53]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Gawker.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-11-17. 
  2. ^ "Who Makes How Much – New York's Salary Guide 2005". New York Magazine. 2005-09-25. 
  3. ^ Blumenkranz, Carla (2007-12-03). "Gawker: 2002-2007". n+1. 
  4. ^ Spiegelman, Ian (2009-05-16). "Comment on article Times: 'Hamptons Just Like Us, Cutely Conserving for "Thrifty" Summer'". Gawker.com. 
  5. ^ Hansell, Saul (2008-10-03). "Gawker Cutbacks an Early Indicator of Ad Slowdown – Bits Blog – NYTimes.com". Bits.blogs.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  6. ^ "Extremely literal boss demotes editor to columnist – self-referential – Gawker". Valleywag.com. 2008-11-12. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  7. ^ Popken, Ben (2008-11-12). "Consumerist Is For Sale". The Consumerist. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  8. ^ "AdweekMedia: Best of the 2000s – Blog of the Decade". Best of the 2000s. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  9. ^ Stelter, Brian (2010-02-15). "Gawker Acquires a Guide to Big Names in the City". New York Times. 
  10. ^ Gawker Staff (October 26, 2011). "Goodbyes: A Tribute to Richard Lawson On His Second Last Day". Gawker. 
  11. ^ Joe Pompeo (25 October 2011). "Richard Lawson leaves Gawker to work for old Gawker boss, at Atlantic Monthly". Capital New York. 
  12. ^ a b Gawker Will Be Conducting An Experiment, Please Enjoy Your Free Cute Cats Singing And Sideboobs, A.J. Daulerio, Gawker, January 23, 2012
  13. ^ a b c d e Four truths about Gawker-Brian Williams e-mail thing, Erik Wemple, Washington Post, January 17, 2012; accessed June 20, 2012
  14. ^ A.J. Daulerio Is Leaving Gawker for ‘Who the F#@K Knows’, Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke and Hunter Walker, New York Observer, January 10, 2013; accessed January 11, 2013
  15. ^ A.J. Daulerio Out as Gawker Editor in Chief, Charlie Warzel, AdWeek, January 10, 2013; accessed January 11, 2013
  16. ^ A.J. Daulerio Out As Gawker Editor; John Cook to Step Up, Joe Coscarelli, New York, January 10, 2013; accessed January 11, 2013
  17. ^ Oxfeld, Jesse (2006-07-03). "Letter From the Ex-Editor: It's a Long Way to Tipperary, It's a Long Way to Go". Gawker.com. 
  18. ^ "Introducing Gawker Stalker Maps". Gawker.com. 2006-03-14. 
  19. ^ "Gawker.com launches 'stalker' map". MSNBC. 2006-03-21. 
  20. ^ a b Kamenetz, Anya (2007-12-13). "Permalancers: Unite!". TheNation.com. 
  21. ^ Shnayerson, Maggie (2007-12-12). "Breaking: In Major Reversal Viacom Returns Healthcare To Freelancers". Gawker.com. 
  22. ^ Shnayerson, Maggie (2008-01-31). "1,000 MTVN Permalancers To Earn Staff Positions". Gawker.com. 
  23. ^ "Scientology video featuring Tom Cruise is leaked to the net". 2008-01-16. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  24. ^ "Sarah Palin's Personal Emails – Exclusive". Gawker. 2008-09-17. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  25. ^ "Palin Emails Reveal Press Hate – Close read". Gawker. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  26. ^ Albanesius, Chloe (2010-02-04). "Palin Hackers May Dodge Feds via DOJ Loophole – News and Analysis by PC Magazine". Pcmag.com. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  27. ^ "CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time Blog Archive – McCain camp seeks investigation over reported e-mail hack « – Blogs from CNN.com". Politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com. 2008-09-17. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  28. ^ Posted: 3:22 AM, July 21, 2009 (2009-07-21). "Espn Reported Erin Andrews Caught Naked On Peep Camera Through Hotel Room Peep Hole". NYPOST.com. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  29. ^ "Eric Dane and Rebecca Gayheart's McSteamy Video Tape With Ex-Beauty Queen – ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. 2009-08-18. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  30. ^ "Wikileaks takedown fiasco underscores pathetic state of internet journalism" (Blog). easydns.org. 
  31. ^ a b David A. Fahrenthold and Aaron Blake (February 9, 2011). "Rep. Chris Lee resigns after reports of Craigslist flirtation". The Washington Post. 
  32. ^ Kennedy, Daniel (Dec 13, 2010). "The Real Lessons Of Gawker’s Security Mess". Forbes. Retrieved 13 December 2010. 
  33. ^ "Gawker website Hacked by Gnosis ; Gnosis says they are not 4chan or Anonymous". Techshrimp.com. 2010-12-12. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  34. ^ Hall, Colby (December 12, 2010). "Gawker Hacked". Mediaite. Retrieved 13 December 2010. 
  35. ^ Brian, Matt (Dec 13, 2010). "Gawker hackers release file with FTP, author & reader usernames/passwords". Retrieved 13 December 2010. 
  36. ^ "Commenting Accounts Compromised — Change Your Passwords". Lifehacker.com. 2010-12-12. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  37. ^ "ADVISORY NOTICE (No action required)". Gawker.com. 2010-12-12. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  38. ^ October 14, 2012 10:50AM (2012-10-14). "Michael Brutsch exposed as the Reddit's Violentacrez, the world's worst internet troll | thetelegraph.com.au". Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  39. ^ "Michael Brutsch: Internet troll behind Reddit 'Creepshot' forum unmasked as grandfather from Texas | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. 2012-10-13. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  40. ^ "Unmasking Reddit's Violentacrez, The Biggest Troll on the Web". Gawker.com. 2012-10-12. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  41. ^ Coppelman, Alyssa (2012-10-11). "Reddit bans Gawker links over Adrian Chen story about porn purveyor Violentacres". Slate.com. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  42. ^ The Daily Dot (2012-10-11). "Redditors declare war on Gawker Media". Daily Dot. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  43. ^ "Leaked Reddit Chat Logs Reveal Moderators' Real Concern". Buzzfeed.com. 2012-10-13. Retrieved 2012-11-15. 
  44. ^ a b Gawker names Deadspin’s A.J. Daulerio new editor-in-chief, Dylan Stableford, Yahoo! News, November 28, 2011; accessed June 20, 2012
  45. ^ Favre’s dirty pics: A lesson in shady journalism, Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon, August 25, 2010; accessed June 20, 2012
  46. ^ Watch Gawker Boss Nick Denton Squirm When NBC Asks Him Why He Published Brian Williams' Email, Jay Yarow, Business Insider, March 8, 2012
  47. ^ Greetings, Today’s The Day All Starred Commenters Will Die, A.J. Daulerio, April 17, 2012
  48. ^ Why Do People Care About Gawker's New Comment Platform? Denton and company boldly try to reinvent the system, Charlie Warzel, AdWeek, April 26, 2012
  49. ^ a b "Gawker: We want to elevate the discourse about frogs who sit like humans", Andrew Phelps, Nieman Journalism Lab, April 26, 2012
  50. ^ An Important Announcement Regarding Your Gawker Political Desk: Goodbye, Jim Newell, Gawker, January 12, 2012
  51. ^ So This Is Goodbye, Matt Cherette, Gawker, December 12, 2011
  52. ^ A Fond Farewell to Brian Moylan On His Last Day, Gawker, March 13, 2012
  53. ^ (25 May 2012). Maureen O’Connor Joins The Cut, Women's Wear Daily

External links[edit]