Recent quotes:

Gossip serves underdogs sometimes

Gossip, though it draws those motivated by envy and resentment, is also a tool of the powerless. It’s a mechanism for coordination.

Gawker Looking Into Lawsuit Against Peter Thiel | Hollywood Reporter

According to the court papers, "Such a tort claim would require the Debtors to show: (1) an intentional infliction of harm; (2) without excuse or justification and motivated solely by malice; (3) resulting in special damages; (4) by an act that would otherwise be lawful. As to the second element of prima facie tort, the plaintiff must show that the defendant was 'solely motivated by malice.' Other motives, such as 'profit, self-interest, or business advantage will defeat a prima facie tort claim.'”

The way we were

It’s difficult to recall now, but at Gawker’s founding there was a sense that the internet was a free space, where anything can be said. An island off the mainland, where people could be themselves. Where writers could say things that would get you fired in an instant from a print publication. Where you could say what you thought without fear of being fired, or sued out of existence. But when you try to make a business out of that freedom, the system will fight you.

Gawker and the Rage of the Creative Underclass

“New York is a city for the rich by the rich, and all of us work at the mercy of rich people and their projects,” says Choire Sicha, Gawker’s top editor (he currently employs a staff of five full-time writers). “If you work at any publication in this town, you work for a millionaire or billionaire. In some ways, that’s functional, and it works as a feudal society. But what’s happened now, related to that, is that culture has dried up and blown away: The Weimar-resurgence baloney is hideous; the rock-band scene is completely unexciting; the young artists have a little more juice, but they’re just bleak intellectual kids; and I am really dissatisfied with young fiction writers.” Sicha, a handsome ex-gallerist who spends his downtime gardening on Fire Island, is generally warm and even-tempered, but on this last point, he looks truly disgusted. “Not a week goes by I don’t want to quit this job,” he says, “because staring at New York this way makes me sick.”

Now Peter Thiel’s Lawyer Wants to Silence Reporting on Trump’s Hair

For instance, one of the “defamatory” statements Gawker published, according to Harder, is this: “What’s more, Ivari’s New York location is inside Trump Tower—on the private floor reserved for Donald Trump’s own office.” Harder omits, of course, the sources on which this assertion was based: Ivari’s own brochure, an archived version of his web site, and multiple advertisements Ivari placed in New York Magazine, all of which specified his New York address as being on the 25th floor of the Trump Tower in Manhattan. Furthermore, he didn’t even quote the article correctly. Here’s what Feinberg actually wrote (emphasis mine): “What’s more, Ivari’s New York location was inside Trump Tower—on the private floor reserved for Donald Trump’s own office.”

Gawker Founder Suspects a Common Financer Behind Lawsuits - The New York Times

Several legal experts said that it was particularly unusual for a plaintiff using a lawyer being paid on a contingency basis not only to turn down settlement offers (several sizable settlements were proffered by Gawker) but also to pursue a strategy that prevented an insurance company from being able to contribute to a settlement. “It’s a very unusual thing to do, because the insurance company would have deeper pockets than Gawker,” said Larry Geneen, a risk management consultant who has long dealt with lawsuits involving insurance companies. “I’ve never had a situation where the plaintiff intentionally took out the claim involving the insurance company.” And given that Mr. Hogan has had financial ups and downs, the cost of the hundreds of motions his lawyers made is significant, and the chances the award is significantly reduced based on previous cases he lost making the same claims in federal court, it’s hard to completely understand the motivations at play. Additionally, Mr. Harder has brought two new cases against Gawker that seem puzzling. One is a defamation case on behalf of Shiva Ayyadurai, who claimed to have invented email. Gawker had written an article challenging his argument, similar to an article from The Washington Post and others on the same topic.

'the sham verdict'

So constitutional issues aside, we now know that the trial was a sham from the start. The real, and actually embarrassing, reason Hogan sued Gawker to begin with was hidden from the jury, from the public, and from me, while he put on a show about being violated by the publication of nine seconds of his sex life, after years of boasts about his prowess on talk radio and shows like Howard Stern.

Gawker's Nick Denton Testifies Hulk Hogan Sex Tape Post "Stands the Test of Time" - Hollywood Reporter

"With the benefit of hindsight, I believe it stands the test of time," said Denton. "Judging it as a reader and as a former working journalist, [editor and writer A.J. Daulerio] clarified the situation and added new information about the participants of that evening. He made a contrast between an American icon and the man behind the icon. And he made a self-critical point about the public's obsession with celebrity sex tapes and his own interest." Denton added he was comfortable with publishing a video excerpt. "There were passages that made me uncomfortable," he said. "But as a whole, it was newsworthy, interesting and advanced our understanding."

The Problem With Journalism Is You Need an Audience

In fact, this imaginary Universal Law of Writing—“Make something great and the readers will come”—is false. It has always been false, though that does not prevent it from being harbored deep in the heart of every ambitious writer and prestige-starved press baron. The history of journalism is littered with the corpses of good publications. The “new media” world is no different. The “long tail” and “audience segmentation” and every other buzzword term does not change the nature of the business. The audience for quality prestige content is small. Even smaller than the actual output of quality prestige content, which itself is smaller than most media outlets like to imagine.

Emily Gould - Exposed - Blog-Post Confidential - Gawker -

In October, New York magazine published a cover article about Gawker’s business model and cultural relevance. I took the magazine from my therapist’s waiting room into her office and read aloud from the article because, I figured, why waste any of my 45 minutes by struggling to summarize it? The article painted Gawker as a clearinghouse for vitriol and me as a semisympathetic naïf who half-loved and half-loathed what her job was forcing her to become. That week, when I walked around at parties, trying to elicit funny quotes from whatever quasi-famous people were there, all anyone wanted to talk to me about was Gawker. How could I sleep at night? someone wondered. I was getting tired of justifying my job to strangers, trotting out truisms about the public’s right to know and the Internet’s changing the rules of privacy. And I was getting tired of writing the same handful of posts over and over again. At the end of November, I announced my resignation via a post on Gawker.

On Gawker’s Problem With Women — Matter — Medium

“Nick has issues working with women in general. I think it’s sort of a semi-purposeful thing where he doesn’t understand how to talk to them and how to listen to them.” — Alex Pareene “Oh, that one is too silly for me to respond to.” — Nick Denton O

Gawker ad deets

The Automated Advertising group—which includes commerce, promotions and partnerships with native advertising networks and external platforms—has nearly doubled in revenue in 2015. Commerce is set to generate $150m this year for merchant partners.

Lexus geeks out over viral content

Ever wonder why certain videos, memes, or photos suddenly seem to be everywhere, while most others get, like, nine views? As it turns out, social psychology is the driving force behind what dominates your newsfeed. This first entry in the Accelerated Ideas video series, sponsored by Lexus, provides an under-a-minute master class in why — and how quickly — things go viral, including one controversial white and gold garment. This post is a sponsored collaboration between Lexus and Studio@Gawker.

Call Donald Trump's Cell Phone and Ask Him About His Important Ideas

If it is the case—as Trump’s release of Graham’s number implicitly argues—that our political discourse improves when voters can ring up candidates on their private cell phones, then we are happy to add Trump’s cell phone number to the body of public knowledge. You can reach Donald Trump at 917-756-8000.

Denton openness

Everybody will be back to work this coming week. New office. New execs. Gawker always bounces back. This is just the way that crises play out in open organizations. And I know I would say that, but it is also true. Just think about it: an all-hands meeting in which everybody is free to speak, and they’re backchanneling on Slack [an instant messaging app] and live-blogging on Twitter. Total transparency. Most companies would be terrified!

Imagining Carr as Gawker's editor in chief.

Q. You said recently that Ta-Nehisi Coates would be your dream Gawker executive editor. Why? What does he offer, or represent? A. I’m not going to talk about individual candidates. But we are looking for a mixture of news judgment, intellectual framework and humanity. The ideal candidate was actually a colleague of yours, David Carr, now sadly no longer with us. Q. Is humanity an important component of journalism? A. Yes, David Carr was described as the most human of humans. Let the writers run a little wild, but they need to be saved from their own selves by editors with a conscience.

Tommy Craggs and Max Read Are Resigning from Gawker

represented an indefensible breach of the notoriously strong firewall between Gawker’s business interests and the independence of its editorial staff.

Gawker's editor celebrates The Writers

The essence of Gawker has always been what happens when we get out of those meetings and go back to writing and editing the stories you do that no one else can do. You writers are this company. You are funny. You are smart. You are vital. You are honest and righteous and pissed-off and stupid, so galactically stupid, and you commit hilarious blunders and you perform great, honking prodigies of journalism that make me proud to have sat in a room with you. Often you do all these things in the same day. You are this company. Nick forgot that, and I hope he one day remembers it. You are, you will always be, the best argument for a company that no longer deserves you.

Tommy Craggs and Max Read Are Resigning from Gawker

Tommy Craggs, the executive editor of Gawker Media, and Max Read, the editor-in-chief of, are resigning from the company. In letters sent today, Craggs and Read informed staff members that the managing partnership’s vote to remove a controversial post about the CFO of Condé Nast—a unprecedented act endorsed by zero editorial employees—represented an indefensible breach of the notoriously strong firewall between Gawker’s business interests and the independence of its editorial staff. Under those conditions, Craggs and Read wrote, they could not possibly guarantee Gawker’s editorial integrity.

Gawker's top editors resign on principle (or pique) after controversy

"That is to say, none of the partners in a company that prides itself on its frankness had the decency or intellectual wherewithal to make the case to the executive editor of Gawker Media for undermining (if not immolating) his job, forsaking Gawker’s too-often-stated, too-little-tested principles, and doing the most extreme and self-destructive thing a shop like ours could ever do," Craggs wrote. Read also wrote a memo to Gawker managing executives that echoed the sentiment of Craggs. "I am able to do this job to the extent that I can believe that the people in charge are able, when faced with difficult decisions, to back up their stated commitments to transparency, fearlessness, and editorial independence. In the wake of Friday’s decision and Tommy’s resignation I can no longer sustain that belief. I find myself forced to resign, effective immediately," he wrote.

Wishing (again) that Carr2n was around to write about this one

Today’s unprecedented breach of the firewall, in which business executives deleted an editorial post over the objections of the entire executive editorial staff, demonstrated exactly why we seek greater protection.

Gawker finances

Profits at the privately held Gawker Media Group grew 9.5 percent last year, to $6,529,821, from the previous year. While most private companies closely guard their financial info, Denton, anticipating being forced to make the numbers public at the Hogan trial, released certain figures on Thursday. Revenue over the period was up 26.6 percent, to $44.3 million, Denton said. But expenses rose at an even faster clip, up more than 30 percent, to $37.8 million in 2014 — and they appear to be accelerating this year. The rise in costs is being fueled by a move the company is making — from modest Soho digs into new offices later this year on West 17th Street that will eat up some $3 million a year in rent.

Nick Denton weighs the risks of the Hulk Hogan suit

I told the company all-hands last week, in an average year, the chance of disaster, some conjunction of events that would compromise the company’s independence and journalistic purpose, is about 1 in 50. I’m going to reuse a phrase from that meeting. We are currently at heightened risk levels. If you want a number: internally, we reckon about 1 in 10.

Denton: "Of course a brand can be your friend"... or Dr. Seuss gets an MBA

By generalizing about brands, and treating them as uniquely duplicitous organizations, we lose our ability to differentiate between good brands and bad brands. Worse, we lose the ability to encourage any kind of incremental progress, by identifying better social media campaigns that Coca Cola might learn from, for example.2I don't think it's true that generalizing about brands prevents us from differentiating between them. In fact, I'd argue that refusing to acknowledge the profit motive at the heart of corporate branding exercise makes analysis even more difficult. And in any event, I don't see why that prank—or Sam's essay—don't point to the "incremental progress" you seem to want. It is fairly obvious to me that a "better social media campaign" would be one in which a major corporate brand does not attempt to enforce a vision of slick positivity using an unsupervised and easily hijacked bot. We can't hold brand managers hands through the vagaries of Twitter, nor do I think we should be obligated to.Max ReadView discussion >>3(I just wanted to note that we appear to have encouraged some kind of "incremental progress," at least, by ensuring that Dove's smarmy new Twitter-positivity campaign won't be automated.)Max ReadView discussion >> Brands are shorthand reputations. Everybody has one, not just corporations. Think about yourself. You work for me; and I am a proud builder of media brands. Our journalism depends on technology and entertainment brands who covet our audience more than our docility. Your department's board has a blog presence, Politburo, which suggests ironic communist dinosaur.4It seems pretty clear to me that Biddle's essay is using "brands" as shorthand for "corporations" (or maybe more specifically "consumer-product corporations with fawning 'colloquial' social media presences"), not in the so-general-as-to-be-meaningless sense of "reputation." The shorthand works because it calls attention in particular the consumer-facing departments and aspects of a corporation.Max ReadView discussion >> Sam, you write for a brand within a brand within a brand. In fact, you are yourself a brand: puerile, nihilistic, infuriating, occasionally infuriatingly brilliant.

Say Goodbye to the Gawker Newsfeed

Gawker's CMS, Kinja, rigidly adheres to a chronologically ordered feed, with no real ability to feature or "pin" posts. This is fairly unique among publishers in our space. Buzzfeed, Vox, and Vice, to name three frenemies, all devote significant real estate, on desktop and mobile, to "featured" stories; of the three mystical axes of content organization—"latest," "popular," and "featured"—Kinja devotes space to only the first two. This can make it difficult, in a direct comparison, for Gawker's front page to stand out. Newsfeed was an attempt to move the "latest" list to a sub-blog so the homepage could be devoted to "featured." Another way of thinking about it is that Gawker's front page would become the big top-story "splash" of the previous design, while Newsfeed would be the "latest stories" rail. Ideally, this design would satisfy everyone: Obsessive readers, who could simply read the Newsfeed; regular but infrequent readers, who could load the front page to see the best of what we'd done in the period since they last visited; and drive-by social-traffic readers, who don't give a shit about our homepage since they came from Facebook. This has worked to some extent. Newsfeed has seen a slow increase in adoption as a direct destination, but after six weeks is still only at around 40 percent of what our homepage traffic is. Overall traffic's held steady at a respectable 17.7ish million uniques for February, but we won't get a gold-and-white dress photo every month, and we were seeing frustrating dips in time spent on the site. We also were worried about SEO trouble, as the sub-blogs don't reflect as posts to Google, but that was a relatively obscure worry

Say Goodbye to the Gawker Newsfeed

Gawker's CMS, Kinja, rigidly adheres to a chronologically ordered feed, with no real ability to feature or "pin" posts. This is fairly unique among publishers in our space. Buzzfeed, Vox, and Vice, to name three frenemies, all devote significant real estate, on desktop and mobile, to "featured" stories