Gawker.com, a 14-year-old blog, will wind down next Monday. One of the original online journalism upstarts, Gawker pushed editorial boundaries beyond traditional mainstream journalism and will be missed by many, not all.
Gawker Media's new owner, US Spanish-language TV network Univision, made the decision to shut down the site after bidding $135 million for the web publisher's portfolio in a bankruptcy auction earlier this week.
Gawker often angered the powerful, including two fateful posts: one that identified billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel as gay and another that showed excerpts of a Hulk Hogan (pictured above) sex tape.
Thiel then reportedly financed Hogan's invasion of privacy lawsuit against Gawker, which Hogan won in court. The $140 million judgment against Gawker eventually bankrupted the company, forcing it to sell its editorial assets.
One last memo, then
In a memo to its staff, Gawker founder Nick Denton said he's also getting out of the news business. Excerpts of the memo, which was sent to AP news agency are below:
"Sadly, neither I nor Gawker.com, the buccaneering flagship of the group I built with my colleagues, are coming along for this next stage. Desirable though the other properties are, we have not been able to find a single media company or investor willing also to take on Gawker.com. The campaign being mounted against its editorial ethos and former writers has made it too risky. I can understand the caution.
"Gawker.com may, like Spy Magazine in its day, have a second act.
"For the moment, however, it will be mothballed, until the smoke clears and a new owner can be found. The archives will remain, but Monday's posts will be the last of this iteration.
"As for Gawker.com, founded in 2003 and mothballed in 2016, it will live on in legend. As the short-lived killer android is told in Blade Runner: "The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very very brightly."
jbh/kl (AP, AFP)