Friday, August 12, 2016

The Gawker Party: End of an Era

image via David Barish

Whether you liked it or abstained entirely, Gawker was an influential part of the Manhattan media landscape over the last decade and a half. Journalism changed from the introduction of the Gawker blend of snarkiness (a cousin to Spy's) and their obsessive personal coverage of the 1%. For 14-years Gawker ran roughshod -- for good or for ill -- over the wealthy, the famous and the powerful as an independent media company with a heck of a lot of moxy. Oftentimes that brash spirit overstepped the bounds of good taste and, quite frankly ethics. But they have always been somewhat good to this blog over the years, particularly in the beginning years.

On Wednesday night there was a hint of autumnal sadness in the air even as the wine was being tossed back, a sense that an era is ending. And it has -- or it will -- next week, when Gawker is sold to a large media conglomerate (Ziff-Davis?) with large enough pockets and a hunger for their data.

Lockhart Steele, Elizabeth Spiers, Lindsay Robertson were among the crowd which seemed to include just about every member of the Gawker team past and present as well as every media reporter in the city, which is quite a feat in the thick of August. A lot of the Gawker team of the past are now married and with kids.

Part of the sadness of the night involves the fact that the ending of Gawker involves a victory for the bad guys, one in particular. Peter Thiel, who funded the Hulk Hogan lawsuit -- and the others is the winner. Anil Dash summed it up nicely on Twitter. "We know Thiel funded James O'Keefe's attacks on ACORN & Planned Parenthood. We know he backs Trump's violent, fascist campaign. Who's next?"

Nick Denton, John Cook and Heather Dietrick all spoke. Nick, in particular, was very gracious about the whole strange trip of Gawker, reminding the attendees that several of the Gawker team are still fighting lawsuits, including a 23-year old intern. Nick mentioned A.J. Daulerio, who was not in attendance, because he is in the process of declaring bankruptcy. It was fun -- the event itself and the wild 14-year ride.

Also in attendance: Choire Sicha, Anna Holmes, Andrew Krucoff, Lloyd Grove, Emily Gould, CNN's Tom Kludt, Max Read, Adrien Chen, Irin Carmon, Anil Dash, Peter Kafka, Felix Salmon, and Michael Calderone.


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