Ousted Editor: ‘Gawker Shouldn’t Be a Depository for the Latest Viral Video’

gawker1.jpgAccording to ousted Gawker editor, Maggie Shnayerson, the site has “changed dramatically” since her arrival in September 2007. “You have [Nick Denton acting as] publisher and an editor, and I think that’s a conflict of interest,” she told us by phone Monday afternoon, adding that “he’s trying to make Gawker much more mainstream, but I’m not sure if [Gawker] works as a HuffPo.”

Shnayerson, formerly PR director at the Village Voice, says she understands Gawker’s need to make money (“I’m not going to be one of those people who complains about publisher’s trying to make money.”) and has “a lot of respect for Denton,” but worries that his vision for the site is ruining its place in the media landscape. “He’s pushing Gawker to its broadest conclusion and this reduces its cachet. It’s not smart business. It’s not smart editorially, and it’s very hard on employees.” She also noted that she’s heard anecdotally that “people in power say they don’t read it as much. That’s really sad. Gawker shouldn’t be a depository for the latest viral video.”

Denton fired Shnayerson via email last night. She emailed him back with what she called “an updated version of the resignation letter” she had written the previous Friday but never sent. Shnayerson says she has no immediate plans, but knew her time was drawing to an end when she “started thinking about leaving without a safety net.”