For media junkies of a certain age, Gawker served as a generation-defining foray into the journalistic blogosphere, setting an early standard in what would eventually become the entire digital media (and at this point, primary media) landscape. The site, which ran for 13 years, was unmatched in snark and smarts - it frequently managed to turn gossip gobbling into something that felt like an intellectual pastime. We mean, when reporting on reporters and industry insiders, Gawker had to be as relentless as its subjects.
Which, of course, led to its demise. In 2016, after a $140 million lawsuit won by Hulk Hogan of all people (reasons being Peter Thiel, a sex tape, etc.), the quintessential New York blog ceased operations as a result of bankruptcy.
Now, it's being resurrected.
In July 2018, Bryan Goldberg, founder of Bleacher Report and Bustle, and CEO of Bustle Digital Group, purchased the defunct Gawker.com (and all its archives and assets) for a reported $1.35 million. (Nothing like a good ol' dot com estate sale, huh?) Rumors circulated, but Goldberg waited until September to officially confirm the relaunch of Gawker in a memo sent to Bustle's staff.
Last week, a Business of Fashion article, which asks Is Bustle the Next Condé Nast?, revealed that Gawker 2.0 would "hire marquee writers and publish longform journalism," but it wasn't until this Wednesday that, thanks to CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy, we were provided a peek at the masthead.
Some news... The first hires for the new Gawker have been announced:
-- @CarsonGriffith will be editorial director
-- @sufferings will be senior editor
-- @mekosoff and @annabreslaw will be staff writers
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) January 16, 2019
Indeed, the "new" Gawker is coming, and here's who's involved:
Publisher: Amanda Hale, who was actually named in the original memo sent out in September. According to her LinkedIn, she's a "media executive with a uniquely multi-disciplinary background in sales/advertising/custom content, editorial strategy, product and more." She was also most recently the chief revenue officer at culture site, The Outline.
Editorial Director: Carson Griffith (who happens to be a certified Guest of a Guest alum) edited gossip sections in the Daily News before writing for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and The Hollywood Reporter. Most recently, she was the entertainment editor over at Architectural Digest.
Senior Editor: Ben Barna, the former features editor at the pre-relaunched Interview magazine. He's written celebrity profiles for titles including BlackBook and T Magazine. Has a pretty good Twitter handle.
Staff Writers: Maya Kosoff and Anna Breslaw are, so far, the only two confirmed staff writers. Kosoff worked as a reporter for Business Insider before becoming Vanity Fair's tech writer. Breslaw, who wrote a very questionable piece for Tablet Magazine, as pointed out by Splinter, worked at Cosmopolitan but has been freelance for the past three years.
Obviously, everyone's got big shoes to fill, especially since so many of Gawker's sister sites are still going strong with all of their signature acerbity, but we'll wait and see. Let's just hope new Gawker can afford to withstand a few lawsuits, for old time's sake.