I don’t cover news for PandoDaily, but I figured that I would give it a shot today.
Gawker has thrown in the towel on their old model. Today, their popular Deadspin blog has announced that they are creating a “contributor network” that will allow “everyone — yes everyone [to have] the same tools at your disposal that we [the writers] have at ours.” The mission is to “break down the wall between readers and writers.”
According to their editor, Tommy Craggs, this will be “nothing like Bleacher Report”… Except that it is an attempt to completely move in the direction of Bleacher Report. And a litany of comments at the bottom of the thread identifies it as such.
Deadspin, which has previously called Bleacher Report “the worst thing in the history of journalism,” and mocked the site with a “congratulatory slideshow” when the company sold to Turner, has also taken slideshows to a new level…by turning the comment thread into a giant slideshow.
Yes, that’s right. You literally have to flip through comments as though they were slides in a slideshow. It’s pretty pathetic and disgusting.
(Wait, am I allowed to say things like that when I am reporting the news? Are the News Police going to arrest me now for breaking the laws of journalism?)
Gawker and Deadspin are denying that this is a move in the direction of a Huffington Post- or Bleacher Report-style contributor network, but one would have to be incredibly naïve to believe otherwise.
Nick Denton and Tommy Craggs are taking a sort of “Jodie Foster approach” to admitting what they are — or at least are becoming. Here’s a fake quote that I am now going to non-attribute to Nick Denton in a manner befitting Gawker:
I — Nick Denton — have a secret that needs to come out. For years, I have been unable to say who I really am. But I can’t keep living a lie anymore. I am a person who does not not not not not advance a retro-forward looking approach to new journalism tactics that are nothing like Huffington Post or Bleacher Report. Those sites are garbage. We at Gawker and Deadspin bring you the real scoop. But today we are further re-recognizing that we do not oppose the end-game media economics that sites like Bleacher Report have embraced. In other words, we win. They lose. Oh, and their founder has a terrible haircut and is an asshole. I’m going to pay someone $15 to denounce him further.
The reality, is that all media properties, regardless of age, voice, or business model, have to embrace the following:
- More traffic and ad inventory is better than less.
- Professional writers are not the only people with voices that matter.
- The economics of content are shifting rapidly, and innovation is the only approach that can enable victory.
These were core tenets that the Bleacher Report founders recognized many years ago, and the company has spent six years trying to master that model. And the company still has plenty of work to do.
Gawker and Deadspin should be wished the best of luck in their new direction.
Honestly, I welcome the innovation and think that Nick Denton is demonstrating more evidence to show that he “gets it.” Despite my personal distaste for their properties, I will be the first to turn an objective eye towards their new moves. They are the right moves. The world is changing, and they don’t want to be left behind.
Best of luck, Nick and Tommy.