Welcome To Gawker's 2012 Construction Project, Let's Chat In The Comments Section, Please
Technically, I'm on quasi-vacation this week but I do feel like I should address the editorial shift that will take place once I officially begin January 9th. Maybe it will be drastic, maybe it won't be. The only thing I know for sure is that in order to guarantee job security at this site I must avoid increasing traffic too much, since both former editors Gabriel Snyder and Remy Stern did that and were swiftly let go. Let's lay out the list of iterations for Gawker I've been told to think about creating, just to give a glimpse at what soon may come.
Facebook: Gawker had this odd company-wide meeting late last summer which was disorienting since Mr. Denton hinted that Gawker was no longer a media company, but a tech company. This worried many of us on the editorial side because it appeared precious words were no longer a commodity. We must be more like Facebook and less like The Awl. I don't remember if he actually mentioned The Awl, but that was my interpretation. That sucks. Everybody loves The Awl. Everybody seems scared of Facebook. But we all must prepare for the online content dystopia, where it becomes even more reliant on user-generated content. The only sites that will be left intact amid the smoldering embers of the brief Longreads revival will be a few of your lonely cousin's FB-shared Buzzfeed links of newborn otters singing ukulele songs with Zooey Deschanel. That's a damn shame, because I had hoped that during my brief stint as Gawker EIC I'd finally manage to get Denton to write that "Why I Like Black Guys" essay I've begged him to do for two years.
Huffington Post: Or SBnation. Or Buzzfeed, Or BuzzBnation. Or The Gurgling Tar Pit Of Your Soul. This front page will be a screeching Drudge-like clone with viral stories constructed in such a precise way you'll be able to process them in exactly 2.3 seconds until you move on to the next item and the next item and the next item and the next item (in the SIDEBAR) and before you know it, shit, it's almost 3 p.m. and you haven't eaten lunch yet. Go get lunch. You are now caught up with current events and can now share your thoughts and witty commentary with your co-workers. (But be sure to save the true zingers and vituperative passive-aggression for the comments section. Why waste the gold on real, live human beings? They offer no validation for your existence.)
The New York Times: It's been a poorly kept secret and that Mr. Denton covets The Times's media writer David Carr as a prospective editor-in-chief of Gawker. Mr. Denton believes that Carr, who's supposedly always appreciated Gawker's disruptive influence and scoop-generating ability, would finally see the future and abandon the stodginess and limitations of his current employer to reach the 20.5 million people who visit Gawker Technology, LLC's content properties each month. You do realize out of the 80 million unique visitors who hit The NYT's website monthly only 2% of them are cool enough to be tastemakers. That's a fact I just made up.
Deadspin: Some readers may be aware that prior to taking over as EIC here (starting JANUARY 9th, bosses) I edited Deadspin, Gawker media's sports site. You may fear that my coming over to Gawker will alienate its significant female and gay readership to cater to the fist-exploding bros—sorry, CHADS—in order for me to be successful. This is nonsense, considering the only reason Deadspin increased traffic the past three years was because I paid $12,000 for a cellphone photo of a famous quarterback's penis.
Overall, this is an extremely talented staff and one that should flourish, regardless of who's in charge. Of course there will be changes. Ones you won't like, ones that I won't like, but somewhere along the way, I hope to get something right. One of those should be to make sure there are writers working over long holiday weekends, so I don't receive emails like the ones I received on January 2 ever again:
SUBJECT: is no one on Gawker the third day in a row?
FROM: Scott Kidder
There is no such thing as non-publication days, especially on our flagship site! See io9 for an example of a site that manages to understand what this means!
SUBJECT: But what if something actually happened?
FROM: Nick Denton
SUBJECT: Fw: Gawker
FROM: Gaby Darbyshire
Sent from my iPhone
Begin forwarded message:
From: "Angelo, Jesse"
Date: January 2, 2012 1:32:48 PM EST
To: Gaby Darbyshire
No new post for almost three days? Is that usual over a holiday period?
What nobody liked the fireworks video? Noted.
Also, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember the "d" since there is a Gawker account executive named A.J. Frucci who's received several emails meant for me.
Now for the next hour I'll take commenter questions down below until I have to run over to Tekserve.