Spanfeller

Departing Kotaku writers post a farewell message to their private equity asshole boss: "Sup dude. Suck it."

Jim Spanfeller (previously) is the private equity monster whose mismanagement of various former Gizmodo sites (notably Gawker, Splinter and Deadspin) has generated endless bad press from his own employees, who have doggedly reported on every single demand that they shut up and suck it up, has now been publicly condemned in the pages of yet another of his publications -- this time, it's the gaming site Kotaku. Read the rest

Blogging is hard, learns Gawker's new bosses

After being bankrupted by Peter Thiel and sold off to Univision, merged with The Onion, then finally handed off to a private equity group, the G/O Media (formerly Gawker) stable of blogs might yet have thrived due to their undiminished traffic and capable reporters. This was not to be, as the new management were soon proved ignorant of the company's culture in particular and of contemporary journalism in general. Things came to a head after Deadspin, famed as much for its trenchant culture writing as its game coverage, was told to "stick to sports", an edict that led to the firing of its editor and the mass resignation of its entire staff. In the empty office, the new management tried its hand at blogging only to find that this is harder than it looks.

Anna Merlan describes a cringe-inducing, quickly-abandoned effort to write the Gawker way:

The sentence structure was uniformly strained. The ledes were clunky. Many of the paragraphs were simply lists of scores, football plays, or marathon finishing times. (The Kenyan runners who won the New York City marathon were unnamed in a headline and described as "cantering," which is something horses do, not people, a phrasing I argued on Twitter was, uh, problematic.) Attempts at cusses were embarrassing: a few things "sucked" or were "dumbass." The headlines were dizzying verb-thickets that had to be read multiple times to be vaguely comprehensible. After a few days of these horrific word-manglers appearing on the site, whether they were his malformed children or not, Editorial Director [Paul] Maidment resigned, citing an "entrepreneurial opportunity" he simply had to pursue.

Read the rest

Splinter News shuttered, boss tells staff not to write about it

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. Read the rest

Gawker's new owners demand right to search journalists, ban encrypted email and institute dress code

After Deadspin's Laura Wagner published an incredible, brave, detailed look at how her new private equity masters -- Jim Spanfeller/Great Hill Partners -- were running Gawker now that they'd acquired it from Univision, the company (now called "G/O Media") struck back. Read the rest

Gizmodo to be acquired for second time in 4 years

“Private equity firm Great Hill Partners has agreed to acquire Gizmodo Media Group from Univision, forming a new company led by digital media exec Jim Spanfeller,” reports the Wall Street Journal's Benjamin Mullin. Read the rest

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