Type of site
|Editor||Leah Beckmann (Interim)|
|562 (November 2014[update])|
Gawker is an American 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. According to third-party web analytics provider SimilarWeb, the site has over 23 million visits per month, as of 2015. 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. The site's editor-in-chief and executive editor resigned In July 2015 when Denton removed a controversial post from the site without their support.
- 1 History
- 2 Staff
- 3 Content
- 4 Controversies
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Gawker was founded by Nick Denton in 2002, after he left the Financial Times. It was originally edited by Elizabeth Spiers. Gawker’s official launch was in December 2002 When Spiers left Gawker, she was replaced by Choire Sicha, a former art dealer. Sicha was employed in this position from after her departure until August 2004, at which point he was replaced by Jessica Coen, and he became editorial director of Gawker Media. Sicha left for the New York Observer six months after his promotion.
Later, in 2005, the editor position was split between two co-editors, 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.
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".
In 2008, weekend editor Ian Spiegelman quit Gawker because Denton fired his friend Sheila McClear without cause. He made that clear in several comments on the site at the time, also denouncing what he said was its practice of hiring full-time employees as independent contractors in order to avoid paying taxes and employment benefits.
On November 12, 2008, the company announced selling the popular blog site Consumerist 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.
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".
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.
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. 
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". 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. Daulerio was replaced as editor-in-chief by longtime Gawker writer John Cook.
In June of 2015, Gawker editorial staff voted to unionize. Employees joined the Writers Guild of America. Approximately three-fourths of employees eligible to vote voted in favor of the decision. Gawker staff announced the vote on May 28, 2015.
Following the decision to delete a controversial story in July 2015, (See § Condé Nast CFO escort outing, below.) Read and Gawker Media executive editor Tommy Craggs resigned in protest. Leah Beckmann, the site’s current deputy editor, took over as interim editor in chief.
Editor In Chief
|Editor-In-Chief||Editor From||Editor To|
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.
On March 14, 2006, Gawker.com launched Gawker Stalker Maps, a mashup of the site's Gawker Stalker feature and Google Maps. 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 sparked criticism from celebrities and publicists for encouraging stalking. Actor and director George Clooney's representative 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". On April 6, 2007, Emily Gould appeared on an edition of Larry King Live hosted by talk show host Jimmy Kimmel during a panel discussion titled "Paparazzi: Do they go too far?" and was asked about the Gawker Stalker. Kimmel accused the site of potentially assisting real stalkers, adding that Gould and her website could ultimately be responsible for someone's death. Kimmel continued to claim a lack of veracity in Gawker's published stories, and the potential for libel it presents. At the end of the exchange Gould said that she didn't "think it was OK" for websites to publish false information, after which Kimmel said she should "check your website then." Gawker.com/stalker now redirects to gawker.com/tag/stalker and the map is no longer posted online.
Tom Cruise video
On January 15, 2008, Gawker mirrored the Scientology video featuring Tom Cruise from the recently removed posting on YouTube. They soon posted a copyright infringement notice written by lawyers for Scientology. By July 2009, the video had not been removed and no lawsuit was filed.
Sarah Palin email leak
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. 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. FBI Spokesman Eric Gonzalez in Anchorage, Alaska, confirmed that an investigation was underway.
On October 28, 2010, Gawker posted an anonymous post entitled, "I Had a One-Night Stand with Christine O'Donnell," discussing an alleged romantic encounter with the Republican nominee for the United States Senate in Delaware. However, according to the writer, O'Donnell only slept naked with the anonymous writer and did not have sex with him. The National Organization for Women condemned the piece as "slut-shaming". NOW's president, Terry O'Neill, stated, "It operates as public sexual harassment. And like all sexual harassment, it targets not only O'Donnell, but all women contemplating stepping into the public sphere." Salon's Justin Elliott criticized the ad hominem nature of the article, tweeting "Today, we are all Christine O'Donnell." Gawker.com reportedly paid in the "low four figures" for the story. Denton defended it, praising its "brilliant packaging." 
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 not get a tweet or correction. Now stop emailing and calling us, please."
easyDNS complained that it was unjustly scolded after Gawker had libeled them.
Chris Lee Craigslist emails
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. Lee resigned his Congressional seat within hours of Gawker's story.
2010 data breach incident
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. The hacker Group stated that they went after Gawker for their "outright arrogance" and for a previous feud between Gawker and 4Chan. Gawker asked all its users to change their passwords and posted an advisory notice as well.
2012 Michael Brutsch unmasking
On October 12, 2012, Adrian Chen posted an article identifying Reddit moderator Violentacrez as Michael Brutsch. 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; at one point, Gawker was banned from all of Reddit.
Hulk Hogan sex tape
On October 4, 2012, Daulerio posted a short clip of Hulk Hogan and Heather Clem, the estranged wife of radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge having sex. Hogan sent Gawker a cease-and-desist order to take the video down, but Denton refused. Denton cited the First Amendment and argued the accompanying commentary had news value. Judge Pamela Campbell issued an injunction ordering Gawker to take down the clip. Hogan filed a lawsuit against Gawker and Denton for violating his privacy, asking for $100 million in damages.
Condé Nast CFO escort outing
On July 16, 2015, reporter Jordan Sargent posted a story about a gay porn star’s alleged text correspondence with an executive from a competing publisher, Condé Nast. The article claimed the individual had planned to go to Chicago to meet the escort, and pay him $2,500 for sex. The post sparked heavy criticism for outing the executive, both internally and from outsiders. Denton removed the story the next day, after Gawker Media's managing partnership voted 4-2 to remove the post — marking the first time the website had "removed a significant news story for any reason other than factual error or legal settlement." On July 20, 2015, Gawker Media executive editor Tommy Craggs and Gawker.com editor-in-chief Max Read posted their resignations from the company, citing the lack of transparency by and independence from the company's management over the post's removal, rather than the concerns over the post's issues and received criticism, as the cause.
- "Gawker.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-11-17.
- Mahler, Jonathan (12 June 2015). "Gawker’s Moment of Truth". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- "Gawker.com" SimilarWeb. Retrieved 2015-6-28.
- "Former Gawker Editor Sews Up Fashion Site, and More". DealBook. New York Times. 13 December 2006. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
- Blumenkranz, Carla (1 January 2008). "Gawker: 2002–2007". n+1. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- Blumenkranz, Carla (2007-12-03). "Gawker: 2002-2007". n+1.
- Spiegelman, Ian (2009-05-16). "Comment on article Times: 'Hamptons Just Like Us, Cutely Conserving for "Thrifty" Summer'". Gawker.com.
- 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.
- "Extremely literal boss demotes editor to columnist – self-referential – Gawker". Valleywag.com. 2008-11-12. Retrieved 2010-04-02.
- Popken, Ben (2008-11-12). "Consumerist Is For Sale". The Consumerist. Retrieved 2010-04-02.
- "AdweekMedia: Best of the 2000s – Blog of the Decade". Best of the 2000s. Retrieved 2010-04-02.
- Stelter, Brian (2010-02-15). "Gawker Acquires a Guide to Big Names in the City". New York Times.
- Gawker Staff (October 26, 2011). "Goodbyes: A Tribute to Richard Lawson On His Second Last Day". Gawker.
- Joe Pompeo (25 October 2011). "Richard Lawson leaves Gawker to work for old Gawker boss, at Atlantic Monthly". Capital New York.
- Gawker Will Be Conducting An Experiment, Please Enjoy Your Free Cute Cats Singing And Sideboobs, A.J. Daulerio, Gawker, January 23, 2012
- Four truths about Gawker-Brian Williams e-mail thing, Erik Wemple, Washington Post, January 17, 2012; accessed June 20, 2012
- 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
- A.J. Daulerio Out as Gawker Editor in Chief, Charlie Warzel, AdWeek, January 10, 2013; accessed January 11, 2013
- A.J. Daulerio Out As Gawker Editor; John Cook to Step Up, Joe Coscarelli, New York, January 10, 2013; accessed January 11, 2013
- Staff, Cision (20 March 2014). "Max Read Takes Reins at Gawker". Cision. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- Beaujon, Andrew (3 April 2014). "Gawker bans ‘Internet slang’". Poynter Institute. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- Crugnale, James (3 April 2014). "Gawker Rips Buzzfeed in Ban on ‘WTF,’ ‘Epic’ and Other Internet Slang From Its Website". TheWrap. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- Kassel, Matthew (3 April 2014). "‘Massive’ Attack: Gawker Goes After Whopping Word". The New York Observer. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- Weaver, Alex (3 April 2014). "Gawker Editor Bans 'Internet Slang,' Challenges Staff to 'Sound Like Regular Human Beings'". BostInno. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- Poole, Steven (10 April 2014). "A ban on internet slang? That's derp". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- McWhorter, John (7 April 2014). "Gawker is Trying to Use 'Adult' Language. Good Luck to Them.". The New Republic. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- Bloomgarden-Smoke, Kara (4 June 2015). "Gawker Votes to Form Union". Observer. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- Naylor, Brian (4 June 2015). [In A First For Online Media, Gawker Writers Join Union "In A First For Online Media, Gawker Writers Join Union"] Check
|url=scheme (help). NPR. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- Gawker Media Staff (28 May 2015). "How We're Voting on the Union, and Why". Gawker. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- Steigrad, Alexandra (2015-07-21). "Gawker’s Nick Denton Tries to Calm Staff as Fallout Continues". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved 2015-07-21.
- 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.
- "Introducing Gawker Stalker Maps". Gawker.com. 2006-03-14.
- "Gawker.com launches 'stalker' map". MSNBC. 2006-03-21.
- "CNN LARRY KING LIVE: Paparazzi: Do They Go Too Far?". CNN. 2007-04-06. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
- "Scientology video featuring Tom Cruise is leaked to the net". 2008-01-16. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
- Denton, Nick (16 January 2008). "Church of Scientology Claims Copyright Infringement". Gawker. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- Denton, Nick (1 January 2008). "The Cruise Indoctrination Video Scientology Tried To Suppress". Gawker.com. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- "Sarah Palin's Personal Emails – Exclusive". Gawker. 2008-09-17. Retrieved 2010-04-02.
- "Palin Emails Reveal Press Hate – Close read". Gawker. Retrieved 2010-04-02.
- 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.
- "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.
- Anonymous (28 October 2010). "I Had a One-Night Stand With Christine O'Donnell". Gawker.com. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
- "NOW to Media: Stop Reducing Women Candidates to Sex Objects". Now.org. 28 October 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
- "Twitter / elliottjustin: Today, we are all Christine O'Donnell". Twitter.com. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
- Choire Sicha (28 October 2010). "Gawker Honcho: "Writers are Successful to the Extent That They Can Sublimate Their Egotism"". The Awl. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
- "Wikileaks takedown fiasco underscores pathetic state of internet journalism" (Blog). easydns.org.
- David A. Fahrenthold and Aaron Blake (February 9, 2011). "Rep. Chris Lee resigns after reports of Craigslist flirtation". The Washington Post.
- Kennedy, Daniel (Dec 13, 2010). "The Real Lessons Of Gawker’s Security Mess". Forbes. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
- "Gawker website Hacked by Gnosis ; Gnosis says they are not 4chan or Anonymous". Techshrimp.com. 2010-12-12. Retrieved 2010-12-12.
- Hall, Colby (December 12, 2010). "Gawker Hacked". Mediaite. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
- Brian, Matt (Dec 13, 2010). "Gawker hackers release file with FTP, author & reader usernames/passwords". Retrieved 13 December 2010.
- "Commenting Accounts Compromised — Change Your Passwords". Lifehacker.com. 2010-12-12. Retrieved 2010-12-12.
- "ADVISORY NOTICE (No action required)". Gawker.com. 2010-12-12. Retrieved 2010-12-12.
- 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.
- "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.
- "Unmasking Reddit's Violentacrez, The Biggest Troll on the Web". Gawker.com. 2012-10-12. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- Coppelman, Alyssa (2012-10-11). "Reddit bans Gawker links over Adrian Chen story about porn purveyor Violentacres". Slate.com. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- The Daily Dot (2012-10-11). "Redditors declare war on Gawker Media". Daily Dot. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- "Leaked Reddit Chat Logs Reveal Moderators' Real Concern". Buzzfeed.com. 2012-10-13. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- Daulerio, A. J. (4 October 2012). "Even for a Minute, Watching Hulk Hogan Have Sex in a Canopy Bed is Not Safe For Work but Watch it Anyway". Gawker. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
- Georgantopulos, Mary Ann (2015-07-15). "“The Biggest Mistake Of My Life”: Court Records Detail The Buildup To Hulk Hogan’s Lawsuit Against Gawker". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
- Mahler, Jonathan (2015-06-12). "Gawker’s Moment of Truth". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
- Weinstein, Adam (17 July 2015). "Goodbye to All That Gawking". Adam Weinstein. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- Gawker Media Editorial Staff (17 July 2015). "A Statement From the Gawker Media Editorial Staff". Gawker. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- "Gawker apologizes, removes article on CFO". USA Today. 2015-07-17. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
- "Gawker retreats and deletes controversial story". CNN. 2015-07-17. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
- J.K. Trotter. "Tommy Craggs and Max Read Are Resigning from Gawker". Gawker. Gawker Media. Retrieved 21 July 2015.