Splinter was the news site at G/O Media (the successor to Gawker Media), housing left-leaning current affairs commentary and anchoring the groups' more advertiser-friendly tech, game and sports "verticals". The new owners have already demonstrated some unexpectedly poor judgment, and now they're shuttering Splinter and ordering other editors there not to write about it.
In an email to staffers obtained by HuffPost, Paul Maidment, the media group's editorial director, instructed editors not to publish posts about Splinter's demise.
"I see no compelling reason for any of our sites to be writing about the decision to cease publishing Splinter," Maidment wrote. "There is already external coverage, LeadPR will handle our external communications, and this is a time to be respectful of colleagues who have just received difficult news and for whom we will be trying to find new positions."
He went on to issue a warning: "Any reference to Splinter in anything we publish needs my prior approval, as per our editorial policy. Please make sure all your staff are aware of that. You will be accountable if anything not approved by me gets published."
This is how you run a McDonalds franchise. The managerial talk here sounds alien to most journalists and like nails on a chalkboard to Gawker writers, whose "unsparing self-coverage" is merciless and traditional.
The new CEO, Jim Spanfeller, formerly was at Forbes and Playboy, prestigious media brands that have faded in recent years: Forbes began publishing anything pumped into its database by unpaid bloggers and Playboy has fewer readers than we do. (Disclosure: Playboy recently sued Boing Boing and got soundly thrashed in court)
Editorial Director Paul Maidment, also formerly of Forbes, featured in the humiliating expose by one of his own writers that brought G/O Media's troubles to wide attention. There he was cast as an interfering pointy-haired boss ignorant of contemporary journalistic practice and culture—especially the Streisand Effect.
Grim reading indeed! You'd think he'd have read enough by now.