The Evolution of Gawker

by guestofaguest · December 3, 2007

gawker

With the unexpected departure of their managing editor Choire Sicha (the guy who helped shape the site into what it is from 2003-2005 before leaving for The Observer and then returning once again), and writer Emily Gould, Gawker is using this uncertain time of adjustment to market their "EVOLUTION". Here is what owner Nick Denton posted on the site this Friday:

"We normally like to have a successor lined up, in an orderly fashion, when one of our managing editors has an existential crisis. Oops. Awkward. Choire Sicha, who was in his second stint as Gawker's managing editor, is irreplaceable [though you'll still be able to read his columns here]. But at least this unwelcome gap at the top of Gawker allows us to do something we haven't before. We're casting a wide net for candidates, beyond the clubby world of bloggers. Because Gawker is becoming a larger and more complex operation, and, frankly, a more traditional one."

"It's no longer enough to take stories from the New York Times, and add a dash of snark. Gawker needs to break and develop more stories. And the new managing editor will need to hire and manage reporters, as well as bloggers. Gawker.com receives more than 10m pageviews per month. Think of Gawker less as a blog than as a full-blown news site. The right candidate will oversee Gawker's evolution."

Will Gawker be able to evolve into something even bigger? Or having filled the void it once set out to, will it devolve and die? While some seem to think this site is for "douche bag" editors, and the backlash has been in print for quite awhile, we doubt that Nick Denton will let his Gawker Dynasty (which includes 13 other sites) crumble. The site seems to be in full swing today, and apparently, the job applications have been pouring in. But on Portfolio today:

Nick Denton created a monster called Gawker. Now that monster is turning on him. Here's Emily Gould, one of three editors who quit the New York gossip site on Friday, in today's WWD: "Whatever Gawker originally set out to do, it kind of did, and now it just feels over. I would love it if it just fell off the face of the earth."

Ouch.

Mr. Denton seems confident he can turn this unexpected mess around, telling the Times today that:

“Choire’s departure as managing editor, and that of his blogger protégés, will obviously be a complete pain, But we’ve been through it before, three times, and this change of the guard does give us the opportunity to accelerate the transformation of Gawker from cute blog to fully-fledged news site.”

We aren't sure we want Gawker becoming a "fully-fledged news site". Don't we have Drudge, CNN, etc. etc. etc. for that? We liked Gawker because of the inappropriateness in many of their posts and witty commentary even if it was in the form of reader's comments. It will be interesting to see when the "new Gawker" unleashes itself on the blog sphere, and who will fill the "old Gawker's" void.