It looks like I wasn’t the only one having a Gawker reckoning; A remarkable post revealed that both Emily Gould and Choire Sicha are leaving the site. (Thanks to Rex for the link.)
That post impressively uses Carla Blumenkranz’s words about Gawker to highlight the worst tendency of the site: “The status of Gawker rose as the overall status of its subjects declined, and it was this that made Gawker appear at times a reprehensible bully.” I’d tried to make the same point, albeit less eloquently, in my own post a few weeks ago:
I’m all for snarky-smart assed blogging, I just think that emulating traditional media’s willingness to destroy people who aren’t villains isn’t a strategy for long-term success.
Perhaps as impressive as Emily and Choire’s self-reflection was Gawker’s post announcing an opening for a new Managing Editor. It kind of makes explicit that this (re-?) imagining of Gawker is not as the site that takes down the traditional media by mocking them, but as the site that takes down the traditional media by stealing their advertising dollars. In their own words:
It’s no longer enough to take stories from the New York Times, and add a dash of snark. Gawker needs to break and develop more stories. And the new managing editor will need to hire and manage reporters, as well as bloggers. Gawker.com receives more than 10m pageviews per month. Think of Gawker less as a blog than as a full-blown news site. The right candidate will oversee Gawker’s evolution.
I always believed that those of us who were creating personal media online would win. I still hold out hope that when we do so, it’s not because we were willing to fight dirtier (or work cheaper) than the media that inspired us, but rather because we could do a better job of making media than the legacy media does today. Congratulations to everybody involved for being willing to indulge in a little bit of the most positive sort of creative destruction.