Richard Rushfield (center) Photo via FishbowlLA
Richard Rushfield is one of the few West Coasters that are still kept on Gawker’s payroll. Hell, even Gabriel Snyder had to move back to New York to take the job as managing editor of the online publication. And if that doesn’t make him an outlier enough, Rushfield actually quit The Los Angeles Times (and no, that’s not code for “got fired by Sam Zell” or “took a buyout package”) to take on the role of a full-time blogger. Now he has a book out called Don’t Follow Me, I’m Lost, about what some would call was his counter-intuitive switch from mainstream to digital media.
Our colleagues over at FishbowlLA had a chance to sit down with Rushfield and pin him down on why he left an editor’s job to work at a blog. From their interview, we’ve hypothesized three theories on what makes Rushfield so well suited for the blogosphere.
Theory One: He’s narcissist
FBLA: New media is where the conversation is?
RR: There were so many times when you’d write a wonderful article for the LATimes, or break some news and it would just be met by the sound of crickets. When you are at the LAT you’re at a place where even the website isn’t in the central flow of the nation’s cultural conversation. But at Gawker one is very much in and a part of that conversation and as one who is writing, in part at least to communicate, that’s where you want to be.
Theory Two: He’s self-destructive
FBLA: Your memoir – it’s title is Don’t Follow Me, I’m Lost and you’re the tip of a trend in media. This wasn’t on purpose?
RR: Ah, yes, it all comes full circle doesn’t it. I suppose that in the book I demonstrate how my trend of making bizarre and self-destructive decisions was well established in my youth, long before taking your career in insane directions became cool. You could, I suppose say, i invented the internet. Metaphorically.
Theory Three: His Snark Was Better Suited For Gawker Than The LA Times
FBLA: We heard your book is hilarious, could you confirm this?
RR: Yes, absolutely, my book is certified to be hilarious by the humor writing authorities at the Keillor Institute. It contains at least two side-splitting episodes of youthfully misguided hi-jinx and a cast of wacky, impossible to believe characters that will have you laughing through your tears. And if anyone reads and does not get their guaranteed two laughs a chapter, I will be them a cup of regular coffee or a single latte and sit quietly for 20 minutes while they tell me how much funnier I could have made it if I had followed their advice.
So there you have it. Richard Rushfield: Funny, self-depreciating, and self-obsessed. A perfect fit for the blogger archetype if there ever was one.