Goodbye, Gawker: This story may finally be over
New owner Univision pulls the plug on the infamous gossip site
August 19, 2016
That’s just a partial list of the many people who’ve been outed, inflamed or uncovered by the pioneering blog over the years.
But it cryptically noted it “will not be operating the Gawker.com site.”
Gawker published its own shutdown notice.
“The decision to close Gawker comes days after Univision successfully bid $135 million for Gawker Media’s six other websites, and four months after the Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel revealed his clandestine legal campaign against the company,” reads the story on Gawker.
Current chief executive officer Nick Denton informed his employees of the decision.
The site’s current employees will get new roles at Gawker Media or Univision.
Gawker.com will reportedly remain online but no new content will be published starting Monday.
Behind the decision
It should come as no surprise that Univision is shutting down Gawker, which filed for bankruptcy after losing an invasion of privacy lawsuit filed by Terry Bollea (better known as Hulk Hogan). Hogan was awarded $140 million in damages, stemming from Gawker’s posting of a Hogan sex tape.
For one, Gawker doesn’t exactly fit with the Univision brand. It’s a mainstream, established media organization, the parent company of the longtime No. 1 Spanish-language network.
Gawker’s an outsider that likes to rip things up.
Further, Gawker carried with it substantial risks of the sort large media companies prefer to avoid, namely libel and related litigation and the headaches that go with them. In addition to the Hogan suit and damages owed, Gawker has been sued before and was often criticized for what people dubbed mean-spirited articles.
Last summer, after the site apparently outed an executive at Condé Nast, Denton pledged to become a little nicer, and the site moved toward publishing more politically focused articles and fewer media-focused ones.
There had been rumblings about a closure among staff since Univision submitted the winning bid Tuesday for Gawker Media (whose other properties are Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Deadspin, Lifehacker and Kotaku).
Gawker survived for 14 years, and it pioneered many firsts in digital journalism, introducing a level of snark that’s become commonplace.
Gawker’s influence will undoubtedly continue for years, even if its reporting will not.
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