The world of digital media is suffering losses. The 14-year-old blog network Gawker.com shut down on Monday 22nd August, 2016. The decision to close Gawker comes days after Univision successfully bid $135 million for Gawker Media’s six other websites. And three months after the Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel revealed his campaign against the company. Let’s try to find out what value for digital media brings the loss of Gawker.

 

 In Hot Pursuit

Despite the announcement of Gawker’s CEO, Nick Denton, that Univision is an acquirer «devoted to vibrant journalism», on Monday 22nd August Gawker.com was closed. Most of the staff move to the other six properties in Gawker Media Group. They are Gizmodo, Deadspin, Jezebel, Kotaku, Lifehacker and Jalopnik). So far there are no signs that these branches will be closed too.
«Gawker.com is shutting down … some 13 years after it began and two days before the end of my forties. It is the end of an era»,- that is how Nick Denton, started his lengthy disquisition on Gawker’s history and meaning. Unfortunately, Denton was forced to sell the company after losing a $140 million in a court against Hulk Hogan who was financially supported by a billionaire Peter Thiel. After this case, many journalists learned how easy rich and powerful people can deal with those who criticize them.

Gawker Is Dead

If it is not the first time you surf the net, be aware that much of what you’ve read on the web by this moment has been shaped by the style and brashness of Gawker. As Sydney Ember wrote in the Times, it was «a wry, conversational and brash form of web journalism that would influence publications across the Internet». Gawker appeared in 2003 as a blog. Since around it has grown an entire system of online publications – Gawker Media Group. It covered all areas of people’s  interests. Promoted as “the source for daily Manhattan media news and gossip» it generally focused on data about what people actually wanted to read. Publishing team formed an ideology that «information wants to be free, and that the truth shall set us free». It developed a form of journalism that privileged transparency and voice. As we can see, this dangerous combination finally exploded.

 

Words In Farewell

Site closure was a heavy blow for some journalists. Many were immigrants from Gawker. Adrian Chen wrote in the New Yorker that Gawker was the best place to become a journalist. It was a place where, with few constraints on your control and little institutional regard for approval, journalists could check themselves for strength.

Gawker Is Dead

A former Gawker’s writer Alex Balk wrote at The Awl that Gawker’s closure is bad news for each of us. Why is this so? Alex himself writes: «we live in a world where we are lied to every day. Gawker was stupid, loud, bullying and ill-informed, and most days it was the only honest thing you could read. Now those days are over». To tell the truth, to some extent it is difficult not to agree with Alex. Of course, there are certainly people who are pleased with site’s closure and supports the decision. But most likely it will be those who were in the heat of the moment of Gawker. Edition was all the same as one or another publication annoy the reader. «If something was interesting to its writers or something was a secret and they discovered it: fair game in their eyes, if not everyone else’s».

According to a Harvard Institute of Politics survey, only one in ten 18-34 year-olds trust the media. Gawker’s young writers shared skepticism of their generation. When they told the story, they told everything. Gawker produced a lot of talented writers. Now they produces a lot of great stuff that you probably aren’t aware of, such as Ashley Feinberg’s political essays and Keenan Trotter’s hyper-aggressive media coverage.

Gawker Is Dead

In our time, when might seem that digital media are thriving and fresh ideas so essential, overlaps one of the sources. «But in dramatic terms, it is a fitting conclusion to this experiment in what happens when you let journalists say what they really think» – Denton writes. These words seem to say that with the closure of Gawker goes away a part of digital media. In the light of all the events, hardly someone decides to take on the same work.

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