‘Gawker’ Layoffs: Fired Writers Turn To Twitter As ‘Gawker’ Becomes A Political Site

The popular website Gawker is trending on Twitter. According to Twitter, Gawker has received 10,600 tweets and counting recently as the surprising news was announced that Gawker plans to switch its tone and focus to politics. Readers have come to love Gawker as a witty and snarky gossip site that offered its take on New York and current happenings in general, but Gawker will reshape itself as a politics website, reports the New York Times‎.

Gawker has been around since 2003, and was held up as the standard for interesting payout rates to their writers. Denton’s unique payment model for Gawker writers, as reported by the New Yorker, at one time involved paying Gawker writers $12 per post, and additional monies to Gawker writers based on the number of page views their articles generated. The payment model became a standard of sorts for websites to emulate in some form or fashion. The payments to writers based on page views helped web writers learn the types of articles that readers sought, and the kind of writing and topics that generated those all-important clicks.

“Later, as the brand grew more established, and as the number of writers in his stable increased, he settled on a new payment scheme: twelve dollars a post, with a pool of bonus money paid out according to the number of page views generated. Paying bonuses for traffic meant not only keeping statistics about what readers did and didn’t like but sharing that information with writers—a supreme journalistic taboo, as it could easily lead to pandering. Pandering was precisely Denton’s aim, and he took it one step further when he started publishing his traffic data alongside the stories themselves.”

The writers that have been let go by Gawker are being tracked by their disabled Gawker Slack accounts, reports the Awl. The publication points to some of those Gawker ex-writers’ Twitter reactions to news of the surprise layoffs by Gawker Media.

According to the Awl, it wasn’t solely Gawker writers that were fired — even though four of the seven fired were full-time employees at Gawker. One of those let go worked at Jezebel, and the other two at Gizmodo.

Taylor Berman’s Twitter description now reads “ex-Gawker,” and Berman retweeted the question that Jason @NonLinearNotes asked. Chiefly, the ex-Gawker writers wondered if any other publications were hiring writers.

As expected, reactions of surprise and new job searches are represented in those tweets.

Gawker has been known to have had a rough go of it in recent years, namely with a pending lawsuit from Hulk Hogan gaining a victory. As reported by the New York Post, Hogan was granted permission to search the computers of Gawker as a result of a sex tape leak featuring Hulk having sex with the wife of Bubba the Love Sponge in 2006. The former pro wrestler — Terry Bollea is Hulk’s real name — sued Gawker for a hefty sum for reportedly leaking the sex tape.

It isn’t merely the $100 million lawsuit brought by Hogan that has articles proclaiming “Gawker is dead, long live Gawker,” as reported by the Guardian. There was also a controversial escort article that appeared on Gawker, wherein the CFO of Condé Nast was outed for allegedly contacting a gay escort. That one article led to so much controversy that the post was removed from Gawker.

The vote to remove the controversial Gawker piece caused the executive editor of Gawker Media, Tommy Craggs, and Gawker.com‘s editor-in-chief, Max Read, to resign from Gawker. After the decision came to remove the controversial Gawker post, as reported by Gawker, the publication wrote that the business interests of Gawker and the editorial freedom of Gawker weren’t separate enough — and as such Craggs and Read wrote that Gawker‘s editorial integrity was at stake.

(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File)