Gawker: The Return – The New York Times
Gawker is back. Still.
The website known for its direct and chatty coverage of celebrities, tech entrepreneurs, media figures and anyone else with bloated egos went live on Wednesday, two years after a failed restart attempt .
The editor-in-chief is Leah Finnegan, former editor-in-chief of The Outline, a news site that closed its doors last year. She also worked as a writer for Gawker and The New York Times.
“The current laws of civility mean that no, it cannot be exactly what it once was,” Ms Finnegan wrote of Gawker in a note to readers released Wednesday, “but we do try to honor the past and embrace the present.
“We’re here to make you laugh, I hope, and think, and make a spit or a frown,” she continued, asking readers to consider the site’s new incarnation “with a open mind and heart “.
Gawker, which became synonymous with an irreverent style that almost defined digital media in the 2000s, was started by journalist Nick Denton in 2002. Building on his success, Mr. Denton built Gawker Media, a mini online empire that included sites dedicated to sports. (Deadspin), technology (Gizmodo) and games (Kotaku).
In 2016, a judge ruled against the company in a privacy breach lawsuit involving the posting of a sex video that was brought by Hulk Hogan, the former professional wrestler, in fact. name Terry Bollea. It was later revealed that the lawsuit was funded by Peter Thiel, a Silicon Valley investor who was angry with an article by Gawker who reported, without his permission, that he was gay.
A collection of Gawker Media sites that did not include Gawker.com was sold to Univision in 2016 for $ 135 million. Mr. Denton is gone and the flagship site has closed. Bryan Goldberg, CEO of Bustle Digital Group, paid $ 1.35 million for the Gawker name in a 2018 bankruptcy auction.
Mr Goldberg’s planned restart of the website in 2019 came to nothing. In April, Times media columnist Ben Smith broke news of a second attempt to relaunch Bustle Digital Group, which also owns the Bustle and Nylon sites.
In her editor’s note on Wednesday, Ms Finnegan wrote that when approached to run the site last year, she said, “Absolutely no way to go to hell.”
A second approach in January conquered her. Ms. Finnegan hired a team of 12 people, mostly women, including four contributing writers.
“I guess my selling points as a potential Gawker editor were that I had worked at Gawker and Bustle before and was unemployed,” Ms. Finnegan wrote. “I was also ready to do it, which not many people can say.”
Gawker’s new website opened with coverage of the celebrities (“Do Justin and Hailey Bieber Hate Each Other?”), The Universe (“Space: The Lamest Frontier”) and Gawker himself (“ Here’s what some people think of Gawker’s return “).
Mr. Goldberg, the owner of the site, submitted to an email interview in a new series, “How Much Money Do You Have?” While he didn’t answer the question directly, he had some thoughts on how Gawker’s return might affect his fortune.
“If there is one website that could take me off track, it’s almost certainly Gawker,” Goldberg said. “Let’s face it – do we think Bustle or Nylon Magazine is going to pick a petty, ill-conceived fight with a deca billionaire?” Probably not.”
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