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Nick Denton

Gawker to Give Readers Tools to Reframe Headlines

Gawker founder Nick Denton has complained in the past about long headlines keeping good stories from appearing in search results. In a move to help crowdsource headline writing and expand sharing, Gawker has plans to roll out a new tool that will let readers tweak headlines and reframe stories before they reblog the stories themselves.

To do so, you have to sign up for a Kinja account. Kinja is Gawker’s beta news aggregation and discussion platform. It picks up the top stories from across the Gawker network and serves readers with a kind-of digital front page where they can read the best performing blog posts. Kinja takes reader participation to the next level by encouraging readers to create mini profiles in order to weed out trolls. Using Kinja, readers will be able to rewrite headlines for stories in order to reach different audiences, before sharing them. Read more

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Wiped Out Data Centers In New York Shut Down Gawker, HuffPo

The Huffington Post, Gawker, BuzzFeed, and Gizmodo have experienced outages after their data centers were shut down due to flood waters and power outages in New York.

Media companies that use data hosting from Internap, Peer 1 and Datagram, which are located in lower Manhattan were affected. Data Center Knowledge has the story: “Flooding from Hurricane Sandy has hobbled two data center buildings in Lower Manhattan, taking out diesel fuel pumps used to refuel generators.A third building at 121 Varick is also reported to be without power. There were also reports of outages for some tenants at a major data hub at 111 8th Avenue, and many other New York area facilities were running on generator power amid widespread utility outages.”

Gawker chief Nick Denton tweeted: “Gawker sites down after power cut off at Datagram, our data center down on Whitehall St. Backup power didn’t kick in fast enough.” Gawker and Gizmodo which is part of Gawker Media, remain down, while Huffington Post and BuzzFeed are back up.

Foot-Fetish Video Featuring Coach’s Wife, Nasty Reply to Letter to Football Team Drive Gawker, Deadspin in December

Gawker Media founder Nick Denton was pleased with December’s results at his network of sites, particularly flagship site Gawker and sports destination Deadspin, which were largely driven by two scoops — the foot fetish video that featured the wife of New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, and a hysterical reply on Cleveland Browns letterhead to a letter to the football club complaining about paper airplanes. From Denton’s memo to staff, via Romenesko Memos:

I’d hoped to begin the year with the rousing plan for the new layout. But that’s been held back to the end of the month. So I’ll save the big harangue.

The median growth from December 2009 to last month was 45 percent. Deeply impressive! But the two sites that stood out were Deadspin and Gawker, up 91 percent and 85 percent, respectively. What marked them out? Scoops. This month’s highlights: the foot fetishist and this wonderfully rude email to a whiny fan.

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7 Chuckle-Worthy Moments from Gawker’s Nick Denton Interview at IGNITION

tomjohansmeyerlogo1[1]You know it’s going to be interesting when Gawker’s Nick Denton and Business Insider’s Henry Blodget share a stage. The latter interviewed the former earlier today at Business Insider’s IGNITION conference in Manhattan about the Gawker redesign, currently in beta, as well as the future of blogging. Much of what Denton had to say came straight out of the manifesto he published earlier this week. It was the short exchanges – of the sort that could only be traded by the likes of Denton and Blodget – that made the interview unique and hilarious.

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VP of Sales Chris Batty, Director of Sales Michael Cascio Leaving Gawker Media

GawkerLogo.jpgThere was some batty news out of Gawker Media: Chris Batty news, to be specific. Silicon Alley Insider posted an email to Gawker staff from founder Nick Denton announcing the departures of vice president of sales Batty and director of sales Michael Cascio. Denton’s email, via Silicon Alley Insider:

Yes, this may be a shock to some of you. Chris Batty and Michael Cascio, Gawker Media’s longtime head of sales and marketing and sales leader, are leaving the company at the end of December. In the new year, we will begin a search for a replacement; we will be looking at candidates both from the digital world and those with TV experience. Chris will coordinate the recruitment. Applicants should contact him directly. In the interim, the sales operation will be overseen by (sales director Gabriela Giacoman), who first brought Chris in.

It’s easier than usual to give the corporate bromides about departing colleagues because Batty and Cascio have such an impressive track record. No exaggeration is needed. Under Chris — and with help from (chief operating officer) Gaby Darbyshire‘s international deals — the company’s annual revenue has increased tenfold. The increase since 2005 translates into a 56 percent annual growth rate. This quarter will be by some margin our largest ever. Chris and Michael are ending on the highest of notes.

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Evan Smith of Texas Tribune: 'Journalists Deserve a Living Wage'

In the final segment of our Media Beat interview, I spoke with Texas Tribune CEO and editor-in-chief Evan Smith about the nonprofit news organization’s business model.

Because the Tribune does not receive advertising, Smith said, it relies on “five buckets” of revenue: membership, major donors, foundations, corporate sponsorship, and earned income through events and premium products like newsletters. And, despite what he calls “the Nick Denton legacy” of online news, the Tribune will never pay its writers based on their page views.

“Nobody took a pay cut when they left their jobs to come and work for the Tribune,” Smith said. “One of the benefits of raising enough money to do a real operation was we could pay honest to goodness real journalists a real wage. Journalists deserve a living wage, not to be nickel and dimed on the basis of traffic.”

Clean out that inbox, Evan. I have a feeling lots of laid-off journos may soon be relocating to Texas.

Part 1: Evan Smith’s Texas Tribune Brings Old-School Reporting Online

Part 2: Evan Smith of Texas Tribune: ‘People Assume the Media is Liberal’

Gawker Media Sees Growth As Its COO Gets Profiled

denton070710.jpg Have you heard of this wry upstart blog network, Gawker Media? It seems they have been doing gangbusters of late.

Ok, so Gawker is not exactly a startup anymore as it has made the jump to become a legitimately successful online business. Other blog networks wish they had the reach and impact of Gawker’s stable of brands, which include Gawker, Gizmodo, Deadspin, Jezebel and Kotaku, among others.

In a memo to employees obtained by Business Insider’s Joe Pompeo, Gawker founder Nick Denton (pictured, with pancakes on his head) touts the company’s success in June. Denton recently started rewarding writers for bringing in new visitors, rather than “pandering to our regulars.”

Our audience, drained by the sale of sites like Consumerist and the merger of others, was largely flat during 2009. There’s more competition for the favor of Google, which has long been the primary source of new readers. Several of our sites are mature; and we’ve wondered on occasion whether we’re reaching the natural limit of their reach.

And we all know unique visitors are much harder to move than pageviews. There are no easy tricks; just great stories that other publishers have to link to; and that readers have to click.

Denton went on to cite a few of the most popular stories from each of the Gawker sites, and why they succeeded.

Separately, the New York Observer profiles Gaby Darbyshire, Gawker’s COO and chief legal counsel.

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Gawker Media Acquires Cityfile; Gawker Editor-in-Chief Gabriel Snyder Out

After growing his blog network from the inside since 2002, Gawker Media founder Nick Denton made his first acquisition today, Cityfile, a news and information guide about New York City’s boldface names. Cityfile is already directing users to cityfile.gawker.com.


MediaDecoder reports a price was not disclosed.

Remy Stern
, who founded Cityfile and once wrote for Gawker Media sites, becomes editor-in-chief of Gawker. Gabriel Snyder, on the job for 16-months, is leaving.

WebNewser has learned Stern had been talking with other potential suitors, including WebMediaBrands, which operates mediabistro.com, the publisher of the blog you’re reading right now.

The Awl’s Choire Sicha, also a former Gawker writer/editor, has two internal memos, one from Denton and this one from Snyder:

Honesty is Gawker’s only virtue, so it seems inappropriate to engage in the usual corporate euphemisms of “wanting to explore new new opportunities” or “take a larger role in the company” or “spend more time with my family” (though eighteen-hour days and seven-day work weeks do take their toll on personal relationships), so I’ll put this as plainly as we’d report any other masthead ouster: I am being canned.