Gawker had their own black Friday newsdump today. In a move that may soon become known as the Denton doctrine, Gawker head Nick Denton announced that he was preemptively laying off 19 members of the editorial staff, including recently hired Moe Tkacik, and suspending page view bonuses for the first quarter of next year due to the upcoming fiscal crisis. Earlier this year Denton cut loose three of Gawker’s sites including Wonkette with similar explanations. We spoke to Denton earlier and he confirmed that this was indeed a preemptive move since none of the sites had yet to see any cancellations.
Denton declined to give us a rundown of who was being laid off, though Valleywag confirmed they had already cut three; judging from the memo that was posted to the site, it looks like Valleywag, Consumerist, and Fleshbot will be the hardest hit. The memo also confirmed earlier reports that Denton will be replacing himself with former NYO-er Gabriel Snyder. Why Snyder?
Denton tells us Snyder may be taking Gawker in a more newsy direction (Gawker’s biggest traffic spikes in the last twelve months have been the result of breaking news stories i.e., The Montauk Monster, the Sarah Palin emails, and the Tom Cruise Scientology video. Says Denton: “In another era, Snyder would have been one of those beloved tyrants who roamed the newsroom.” To that end, Gawker has also announced they will be hiring two new reporters.
Which leads us back to Moe Tkacik. Tkacik initially made her name at Jezebel, and recently moved over to Gawker less than twenty-four hours after accepting a job at Radar — word on the street at the time was that Denton was unwilling to let her go. Cutting her loose now is especially striking especially considering how high her traffic has been in the last while. Radar has since hired former Gawker managing editor Choire Sicha as a full-time contributor.