The Gawker that we all knew and loved, or hated, or hate-loved, is giving way to a new Gawker. This, as we all now know, is not the “20 percent nicer” Gawker that we thought was going to be new Gawker after the big, job-resignation-causing flap over the posting and subsequent removal of a piece that outed an executive, but a Gawker that makes sense as the subject of a post in this blog.
Here’s the explanation from Gawker Media executive editor John Cook in a memo that explained both Gawker’s new direction and the staff cuts and site closures that were also part of the restructuring plan.
Pareene’s Gawker will focus intensely on politics, broadly considered, and the 2016 campaign. Never before has a political season promised to be so ripe for the kind of punishing satire and absurdist wit that Alex has perfected over his career.
That’s the set-up; here are the specifics:
Alex will redirect the Gawker team to hump the campaign. Allie Jones and Sam Biddle will head out on the trail, Ashley Feinberg will obsessively monitor the dark and hilarious lunatic fringes on the right and left—will Hamilton Nolan will interview Bernie Sanders? Maybe! Gawker won’t just do horse-race coverage, of course—it will take a Daily Show approach to covering the ever-intensifying culture wars, documenting, satirizing, and reporting on the ways that political disputes are refracted in every aspect of our popular culture.
Further elucidation from Gawker.com editor in chief Alex Pareene:
There’s a tendency to treat the presidential campaign as a joyless slog–which it certainly is!–and the American political, economic, and justice systems as deeply and utterly rotten–also true!–but we should be laughing at the absurdity of it all, not scolding or haranguing or moralizing. We should gleefully tweak the powerful and the corrupt, and illuminate the innate ridiculousness of Serious People.
Gawker Media founder and chief executive Nick Denton, in his own memo to staff, wrote that, “In today’s crowded and confusing digital media world, you should focus on your strengths and have a clear message for your audience.” Is Gawker’s political coverage a strength for the site? Is that satirical, nothing-sacred, personality-heavy timbre missing from the current stable of political writing and reporting? Is Gawker filling a hole, or shooting itself in the foot? Vote below, and let us know what you think in the comments.