There has certainly been much debate recently in the blogosphere about Gawker, its changing voice, its continued relevance and influence on the media establishment, and its ultimate future fate. Al Saklin just wrote a Sunday Styles piece that begs the classic Gawker question, has Gawker jumped the shark? No doubt Denton was tickled pink by this article as he quickly posted several articles over the past couple of years that incorrectly tried to predict the site's downfall. And no doubt, some fans believe that with the departure of Choire Sicha and pals, Gawker, like Britney and Jamie Lynn Spears, has indeed finally jumped. No more boy who cried wolf, this time its for real.
But as we noted in our analysis of the evolution of Gawker, it may not be that simple. To assume Gawker is over, is to assume that it is still trying to fill the same void, namely empowering the seemingly powerless Manhattan intelligentsia. But Denton is clearly steering his flagship in a more mainstream direction, increasing the national and pop coverage nature of the blog. A recent IM conversation between Denton and Robert Morgan tells you all you need to know.
Denton (4:40:12 p.m.): so, let me tell you what I want to do on the site
Denton (4:40:17 p.m.): nothing that radical
Denton (4:40:27 p.m.): media gossip and pop culture
Denton (4:41:32 p.m.): and, similarly, on pop culture, much more on web, videogames, etc — the growing parts of culture
Denton (4:41:40 p.m.): we had too much on book publishing
Denton (4:42:01 p.m.): or, rather, too little on the bits of media that actually have an audience
There you have it. He no longer wants to solely pander to the media groupies, so while you whine and complain, its probably falling on deaf ears. Therefore, think of Gawker not so much as jumping a particular shark, but rather jumping into a different body of water, albeit a much bigger one.