Deadspin is Burning

Spacemans Bong

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But some people SHOULD stick to sports. Or whatever it is they were hired to do.

Just because someone is good at writing about sports (and let's face it, few are), doesn't mean you have a quality opinion on politics. Or that I care to read it. I think it's funny when the media gets so insulted at the prospect of sticking to sports. If my butcher was always talking about carpet and rugs and flooring stuff when I was in the butcher shop, I'd eventually tell him to stick to cutting meat.

The internet has made everything muddy so everyone from your next door neighbor to your grandmother thinks they have valuable opinions on everything. But just because you have a voice, doesn't mean you should open your fucking mouth.
This isn’t ESPN misjudging the appetite for people to want some political commentary with SportsCenter. Deadspin’s been successful at it, some of their writers are legitimately very good at writing political takes, and their audience wants it. Their last two Trump articles have way more comments than any other story on their site.
 

Orel Miraculous

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Wait, so let me get this straight:
  • Company buys website that has been losing money since forever (and is directly responsible for demise of original owners)
  • New bosses expect them to make money and implement rules to do so (soundness of said plan is debatable)
  • Employees throw a tantrum and publicly mock/disobey new bosses
  • Employees get fired/punished
And I'm supposed to feel bad for them? Whether you like or dislike their content, how is it acceptable behavior on their part to basically sabotage their new bosses? Where do they think their salaries are going to come from? Even if they disagree with the new mission statement (which is totally understandable), how does acting this way help anything?

In my opinion, they couldn't be coming off as more entitled if they tried...but I'll admit I'm certainly biased against them. To me, they're acting like they're on the frontlines of democracy doing important investigative reporting and are being shut down by the man, when they're actually a declining pop culture/sports site that appears to be a money pit for the owners but has enough brand recognition to potentially be profitable.
The bolded is a hugely erroneous assumption on your part, which colors everything that follows. Deadspin, and the larger Gawker media empire, have absolutely NOT lost money since forever. The company spent essentially a full decade growing bigger and more profitable year-after-year, only to be deliberately destroyed by a billionaire they pissed off. The business model was categorically not the problem. And the idea that people who spent years building something unique and successful should just shut up and take it from the literal corporate vampires who bought them is gross.
 
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gingerbreadmann

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But some people SHOULD stick to sports. Or whatever it is they were hired to do.

Just because someone is good at writing about sports (and let's face it, few are), doesn't mean you have a quality opinion on politics. Or that I care to read it. I think it's funny when the media gets so insulted at the prospect of sticking to sports. If my butcher was always talking about carpet and rugs and flooring stuff when I was in the butcher shop, I'd eventually tell him to stick to cutting meat.

The internet has made everything muddy so everyone from your next door neighbor to your grandmother thinks they have valuable opinions on everything. But just because you have a voice, doesn't mean you should open your fucking mouth.
This post is so great, I am just quoting it so I can read it again. I'll leave the response to someone who, prior to yesterday, got paid to write about things besides sports.

I think standing up for your beliefs is all well and good however this is something different.

If I joined my employer to do X its entirely within their right to change direction and no longer do that thing anymore. As an at-will employee, I can choose to do what they want or vote with my feet. Lashing out at the people who have invested in this business, even if they are making bad decisions, isn't really taking a real stand for anything other than a disagreement over strategy. I can't imagine that will sit well with prospective employers.

In short, taking a stand over a social/cultural/human rights issue is laudable. Taking one because you don't agree with the strategic plan of those who pay the bills is just a business decision and not a smart one imho
I am genuinely trying to get where you are coming from here, but all I can come up with is -- so what? All of these rebellious acts have been done willingly by the staff who all know the risks. That includes the more established writers whom people here seem to respect, as well as the younger ones who haven't been mentioned but likely have far more to lose. Are they really all entitled people throwing a collective tantrum for the hell of it? Are you actually concerned on behalf of their job prospects, or the sanctity of the righteous business decisions made by Moneyed Private Equity Men? Most of the staff has been there far longer than G/O; they know and care about how the site works (not to mention have likely codified it in a CBA), and they don't seem to mind getting fired over this. That's got to mean something.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I wonder how their site would have evolved had they not named Daulerio editor. He gleefully steered the ship into the iceberg with regards to the Hulk Hogan tape, and of course was himself a horrible human being who would have been the perfect fit for Portnoy and Barstool instead.
 

jose melendez

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But some people SHOULD stick to sports. Or whatever it is they were hired to do.

Just because someone is good at writing about sports (and let's face it, few are), doesn't mean you have a quality opinion on politics. Or that I care to read it. I think it's funny when the media gets so insulted at the prospect of sticking to sports. If my butcher was always talking about carpet and rugs and flooring stuff when I was in the butcher shop, I'd eventually tell him to stick to cutting meat.

The internet has made everything muddy so everyone from your next door neighbor to your grandmother thinks they have valuable opinions on everything. But just because you have a voice, doesn't mean you should open your fucking mouth.
Sure. But read the Trump got booed piece, and tell me that guy should just shut up.

Yeah, the bosses have a right to change the direction. But the worker bees also have the right to tell them to go to hell.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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But some people SHOULD stick to sports. Or whatever it is they were hired to do.

Just because someone is good at writing about sports (and let's face it, few are), doesn't mean you have a quality opinion on politics. Or that I care to read it. I think it's funny when the media gets so insulted at the prospect of sticking to sports. If my butcher was always talking about carpet and rugs and flooring stuff when I was in the butcher shop, I'd eventually tell him to stick to cutting meat.

The internet has made everything muddy so everyone from your next door neighbor to your grandmother thinks they have valuable opinions on everything. But just because you have a voice, doesn't mean you should open your fucking mouth.
I know that this has been said prior to me, why are you reading Deadspin. There are plenty of sites that stick to sports. Deadspin prides itself on a. reporting on sports and b. everything else. There are movie reviews (less now that Leitch doesn't write for them), political stuff, and other things. I mean, if you're there to read news about the Jets or the Red Sox, unless they intersect with politics (the Sox visiting Trump earlier this year) they don't normally crowbar politics into the pieces.

And unfortunately, we're at a point in our pop culture lives where everything intersects: sports, religion, politics, movies, TV, etc. The idea that news stays in the front section, politics goes in section B, sports stays in section C, and entertainment is found in section D (ie, the USA Todayification of the world) is over. We've been marching towards this for a long time and sticking your head in the sand and yelling, "Stick to sports!" is not going to stop it.

EDIT: BTW, no new articles have been uploaded since 12:32 EST. It's now almost 3:00.
 

JCizzle

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I'm glad the Ringer exists. Minus the political coverage, they cover the sports/pop culture mix without the overwhelming cynicism that seemed to take over Deadspin. I used to really like the site, but definitely got away from it in the past couple of years. Maybe it was just my tastes that changed. I hope these folks end up ok.
 

Average Reds

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If that's the case, then I can say it's a stupid if someone is able to be protected while actively creating a hostile working environment.
I believe that you have just inadvertently (yet with stunning precision) summed up the objective of the Deadspin protest.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I know that this has been said prior to me, why are you reading Deadspin. There are plenty of sites that stick to sports. Deadspin prides itself on a. reporting on sports and b. everything else. There are movie reviews (less now that Leitch doesn't write for them), political stuff, and other things. I mean, if you're there to read news about the Jets or the Red Sox, unless they intersect with politics (the Sox visiting Trump earlier this year) they don't normally crowbar politics into the pieces.

And unfortunately, we're at a point in our pop culture lives where everything intersects: sports, religion, politics, movies, TV, etc. The idea that news stays in the front section, politics goes in section B, sports stays in section C, and entertainment is found in section D (ie, the USA Todayification of the world) is over. We've been marching towards this for a long time and sticking your head in the sand and yelling, "Stick to sports!" is not going to stop it.

EDIT: BTW, no new articles have been uploaded since 12:32 EST. It's now almost 3:00.
And Deadspin was always a Culture website with a Sports-centric approach that never precluded other topics. As you say, Leitch founded the site this way.

One of the best things I read on Deadspin was Hannah Keyser's account of her own sexual assault and the aftermath of it. It made me think about some of the shit I did in college and with a shock realizing I came perilously close to committing sexual assault myself, all based on her account. Sports or not, that was great, heartfelt writing. Technically it was written for Adequate Man, but that page is closely linked to Deadspin.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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I am genuinely trying to get where you are coming from here, but all I can come up with is -- so what? All of these rebellious acts have been done willingly by the staff who all know the risks. That includes the more established writers whom people here seem to respect, as well as the younger ones who haven't been mentioned but likely have far more to lose. Are they really all entitled people throwing a collective tantrum for the hell of it? Are you actually concerned on behalf of their job prospects, or the sanctity of the righteous business decisions made by Moneyed Private Equity Men? Most of the staff has been there far longer than G/O; they know and care about how the site works (not to mention have likely codified it in a CBA), and they don't seem to mind getting fired over this. That's got to mean something.
To be clear, I am completely fine with Wagner et al taking a stand for their work and friends. And I am in no way backing the investors/management.

As long as everyone understands the risks they take, its all good. I cannot speak to the writers employment prospects but I cannot imagine Tweeting in anger in response to a management decision is good for anyone's career regardless of how accomplished they are in their field.

Finally, Deadspin changing their editorial focus doesn't seem like a societal or cultural issue to me but perhaps I am mistaken. This is a business decision that may or may not be smart. These people are standing up for a product and not a movement though I get that everything is a movement of sorts these days.
 

joe dokes

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To be clear, I am completely fine with Wagner et al taking a stand for their work and friends. And I am in no way backing the investors/management.

As long as everyone understands the risks they take, its all good. I cannot speak to the writers employment prospects but I cannot imagine Tweeting in anger in response to a management decision is good for anyone's career regardless of how accomplished they are in their field.
I dont think there's really any doubt that they know what they're getting into.
 

SeanBerry

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I know that this has been said prior to me, why are you reading Deadspin. There are plenty of sites that stick to sports. Deadspin prides itself on a. reporting on sports and b. everything else. There are movie reviews (less now that Leitch doesn't write for them), political stuff, and other things. I mean, if you're there to read news about the Jets or the Red Sox, unless they intersect with politics (the Sox visiting Trump earlier this year) they don't normally crowbar politics into the pieces.

And unfortunately, we're at a point in our pop culture lives where everything intersects: sports, religion, politics, movies, TV, etc. The idea that news stays in the front section, politics goes in section B, sports stays in section C, and entertainment is found in section D (ie, the USA Todayification of the world) is over. We've been marching towards this for a long time and sticking your head in the sand and yelling, "Stick to sports!" is not going to stop it.
Personally, I don't read Deadspin anymore. I mean I'll see specific stories if something I see on Twitter or Facebook intrigues me but I never go to the homepage.

I never went to Deadspin for sports news or sports takes. I did love their media critiques back in the day. They would fearlessly go after ESPN 10 (maybe 15) or so years ago. I like that stuff. It was edgy, well-written and funny. For a couple of years, they filled a void when Simmons left Digital Sports Boston for ESPN and stopped doing anti-sports media stuff. They had good writers then too.

They became something different the last few years. Is it better? Seems like some folks here like the smarmy political hot takes. Me, eh. I'm burnt out. I don't like this pop culture life where politics seep into everything. It creates a community that lectures and it's just exhausting and, in my opinion, boring. @Seven Costanza calling Deadspin "nuanced" did bring me a lot of joy though. Maybe it's a fair trade after all.

Don't get me wrong in all of this. I also hate all sports talk sites. I hate most things. What Deadspin is becoming sounds awful. Is reading about the Warriors inability to play defense worse than an article about impeaching Trump (but in a ham-handed and "comedic" tone)? I don't know. It all sucks.

Deadspin in 2004 or whatever was cool. I wish that would come back. But it won't. Now everyone screams about politics all the time and that's how it goes. I just wish people talked about other shit again. Like how much Joe Morgan is awful on Sunday Night Baseball or how Mike Francesa may or may not have farted on a broadcast last week and Mad Dog laughed.
 

Seven Costanza

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Personally, I don't read Deadspin anymore. I mean I'll see specific stories if something I see on Twitter or Facebook intrigues me but I never go to the homepage.

I never went to Deadspin for sports news or sports takes. I did love their media critiques back in the day. They would fearlessly go after ESPN 10 (maybe 15) or so years ago. I like that stuff. It was edgy, well-written and funny. For a couple of years, they filled a void when Simmons left Digital Sports Boston for ESPN and stopped doing anti-sports media stuff. They had good writers then too.

They became something different the last few years. Is it better? Seems like some folks here like the smarmy political hot takes. Me, eh. I'm burnt out. I don't like this pop culture life where politics seep into everything. It creates a community that lectures and it's just exhausting and, in my opinion, boring. @Seven Costanza calling Deadspin "nuanced" did bring me a lot of joy though. Maybe it's a fair trade after all.

Don't get me wrong in all of this. I also hate all sports talk sites. I hate most things. What Deadspin is becoming sounds awful. Is reading about the Warriors inability to play defense worse than an article about impeaching Trump (but in a ham-handed and "comedic" tone)? I don't know. It all sucks.

Deadspin in 2004 or whatever was cool. I wish that would come back. But it won't. Now everyone screams about politics all the time and that's how it goes. I just wish people talked about other shit again. Like how much Joe Morgan is awful on Sunday Night Baseball or how Mike Francesa may or may not have farted on a broadcast last week and Mad Dog laughed.

Was I wrong? You seem to take away one thing from Deadspin, many of us take away something very different.

Glad I could provide you with some joy for the day.
 

RIrooter09

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One of the best things I read on Deadspin was Hannah Keyser's account of her own sexual assault and the aftermath of it. It made me think about some of the shit I did in college and with a shock realizing I came perilously close to committing sexual assault myself, all based on her account. Sports or not, that was great, heartfelt writing. Technically it was written for Adequate Man, but that page is closely linked to Deadspin.
Thanks for linking this article. Powerful stuff indeed.
 

DJnVa

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This isn’t ESPN misjudging the appetite for people to want some political commentary with SportsCenter. Deadspin’s been successful at it, some of their writers are legitimately very good at writing political takes, and their audience wants it. Their last two Trump articles have way more comments than any other story on their site.
Sure. But the boss is still in charge.

Lord knows the higher ups where I work make decisions that I think are wrong-headed. I still have to do it if I want to work here.
 

JCizzle

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This is the shit that irked me about Deadspin. I went to Barry's feed to see what he said about being fired, and his second most recent tweet is a passive aggressive shot at Simmons over something that isn't even true. Bill retweeted a podcast that Jason Concepcion did like 3 days ago and Ben Lindbergh around the same time. If you're going to be a dick, at least do it for a good reason.

View: https://twitter.com/barry/status/1189203363637972995?s=21
 

joe dokes

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Sure. But the boss is still in charge.

Lord knows the higher ups where I work make decisions that I think are wrong-headed. I still have to do it if I want to work here.
This is undoubtedly true for most of us. Yet we all have a line (even if we dont know exactly where it is until its reached) where "wrong-headed" morphs into "I can't work here anymore." And since these folks are writers, they are writing about it. If they were working at a different sort of place, they might not have that outlet' theyd just leave (or depending on the particulars, "report it" somewhere). Maybe the last sentence is the key: ".......if they want to work there......."
 

kenneycb

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The bolded is a hugely erroneous assumption on your part, which colors everything that follows. Deadspin, and the larger Gawker media empire, have absolutely NOT lost money since forever. The company spent essentially a full decade growing bigger and more profitable year-after-year, only to be deliberately destroyed by a billionaire they pissed off. The business model was categorically not the problem. And the idea that people who spent years building something unique and successful should just shut up and take it from the literal corporate vampires who bought them is gross.
Pissed off is an extremely generous way of saying "needlessly outed as homosexual to the public". Which is an abhorrent act.
 

gingerbreadmann

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Pissed off is an extremely generous way of saying "needlessly outed as homosexual to the public". Which is an abhorrent act.
Picking that nit, while technically accurate, is an extremely generous way of interpreting Peter Thiel's motivations. Extremely.
 

kenneycb

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Per Wikipedia:
Thiel said he was motivated to sue Gawker after they published a 2007 article publicly outing him, headlined "Peter Thiel is totally gay, people". Thiel stated that Gawker articles about others, including his friends, had "ruined people's lives for no reason," and said, "It's less about revenge and more about specific deterrence."[122] In response to criticism that his funding of lawsuits against Gawker could restrict the freedom of the press, Thiel cited his donations to the Committee to Protect Journalists and stated, "I refuse to believe that journalism means massive privacy violations. I think much more highly of journalists than that. It's precisely because I respect journalists that I do not believe they are endangered by fighting back against Gawker."[122]

Directly sourced from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/26/business/dealbook/peter-thiel-tech-billionaire-reveals-secret-war-with-gawker.html
 

Cellar-Door

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Sure. But the boss is still in charge.

Lord knows the higher ups where I work make decisions that I think are wrong-headed. I still have to do it if I want to work here.
It's less clear than that though. Pethesky tweeted out a portion from the CBA which gave editorial control to the Executive Editor. It's not at all clear that the "boss" had the ability to make or enforce that decision.

This is the shit that irked me about Deadspin. I went to Barry's feed to see what he said about being fired, and his second most recent tweet is a passive aggressive shot at Simmons over something that isn't even true. Bill retweeted a podcast that Jason Concepcion did like 3 days ago and Ben Lindbergh around the same time. If you're going to be a dick, at least do it for a good reason.

View: https://twitter.com/barry/status/1189203363637972995?s=21
Yeah, Deadspin was always a weird one, on the one hand they did some really good work and were unafraid to piss people off. On the other, they like Gawker had no real interest organizationally in accuracy, and they were consumed with petty grudges and one-sided vendetta's with people who the disliked or who got more attention than them.,

Pissed off is an extremely generous way of saying "needlessly outed as homosexual to the public". Which is an abhorrent act.
It is, on the other hand it isn't really a good justification to throw piles of proxy suits at a publication with the stated goal of both driving them out of business, ignoring the legal precedent's impact.
 
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The Needler

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Picking that nit, while technically accurate, is an extremely generous way of interpreting Peter Thiel's motivations. Extremely.
I'm not even sure why his motivations matter. Gawker went under because it was found liable by six jurors (including four women), and couldn't pay the damages or appellate bond. Maybe Hogan would've found the money to finance his suit elsewhere, maybe not. But at the end of the day, Gawker lost its case before a duly-empaneled jury, and if that's enough to put them under, then its business model can most certainly be called into question. Not to mention its business judgment; even if you believe the jury got it wrong, and Gawker was justified in its publication, its failure to maintain sufficient liability insurance to deal with the kind of verdict the jury returned (especially in light of its fast-and-loose reporting style) was another example of amateur hour.
 

gingerbreadmann

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Per Wikipedia:
Thiel said he was motivated to sue Gawker after they published a 2007 article publicly outing him, headlined "Peter Thiel is totally gay, people". Thiel stated that Gawker articles about others, including his friends, had "ruined people's lives for no reason," and said, "It's less about revenge and more about specific deterrence."[122] In response to criticism that his funding of lawsuits against Gawker could restrict the freedom of the press, Thiel cited his donations to the Committee to Protect Journalists and stated, "I refuse to believe that journalism means massive privacy violations. I think much more highly of journalists than that. It's precisely because I respect journalists that I do not believe they are endangered by fighting back against Gawker."[122]

Directly sourced from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/26/business/dealbook/peter-thiel-tech-billionaire-reveals-secret-war-with-gawker.html
Yes, hence "technically accurate." If you want to take those quotes at face value and go to bat for him, go ahead. I would argue that everything else we know, like Thiel equating Gawker to a terrorist organization that he openly discussed destroying via cyber crimes before Hogan fell into his lap, not to mention his entire reprehensible body of influence on society, is a pretty good piece of evidence for a long-time Gawker angle: No one person should be allowed to control that much money.

I'm not even sure why his motivations matter. Gawker went under because it was found liable by six jurors (including four women), and couldn't pay the damages or appellate bond. Maybe Hogan would've found the money to finance his suit elsewhere, maybe not. But at the end of the day, Gawker lost its case before a duly-empaneled jury, and if that's enough to put them under, then its business model can most certainly be called into question. Not to mention its business judgment; even if you believe the jury got it wrong, and Gawker was justified in its publication, its failure to maintain sufficient liability insurance to deal with the kind of verdict the jury returned (especially in light of its fast-and-loose reporting style) was another example of amateur hour.
Agree that Daulerio-era Gawker left itself vulnerable to that kind of (admittedly wild) circumstance; disagree that it's a black and white indictment on Deadspin's situation today (not sure you're going that far, to be clear). Most importantly, the original portrayal of Deadspin staffers as entitled babies who threw a tantrum when grown-ups asked them to start making money is still a ridiculous framing of what is going on.
 

kenneycb

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Yes, hence "technically accurate." If you want to take those quotes at face value and go to bat for him, go ahead. I would argue that everything else we know, like Thiel equating Gawker to a terrorist organization that he openly discussed destroying via cyber crimes before Hogan fell into his lap, not to mention his entire reprehensible body of influence on society, is a pretty good piece of evidence for a long-time Gawker angle: No one person should be allowed to control that much money.
None of which has any relevance to my original point. Unless you want to argue that billionaires should be dehuamanized to the point where we shouldn't care about outing them in public forums for no reason at all. The original point brushed it off as a simple billionaire they pissed off. He had every reason to be pissed off. Whether he should have taken it to the extremes can be debated. At least it was self-contained but I don't care to get into the political argument. Regardlsss Gawker was a shitty organization with shitty morals that often profited off the gross exploitation of others' secrets.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Most importantly, the original portrayal of Deadspin staffers as entitled babies who threw a tantrum when grown-ups asked them to start making money is still a ridiculous framing of what is going on.
If you don't mind, please clarify what you are getting at with Thiel. It appears that you are saying his obscene wealth and odious politics make it ok that Gawker outed him.

I get that he went after them hard on the follow with resources that few other people have access to and that he was opportunistic with the Hogan situation. But as both you and The Needler note Gawker never should have exposed themselves to that sort of risk in the first place.

Regarding the rest of your post, who here characterized Deadspin staffers as "entitled babies" who threw a tantrum?

Again, this is a business decision and not really a labor related issue imo. The bosses want their product prepared a specific way and some employees disagree about that. The latter may well be right but this doesn't have to do with wage negotiations or workplace conditions.

They may be issues as well but that seems separate from the bosses asking the writers to stick to sports.
 

Cellar-Door

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If

Again, this is a business decision and not really a labor related issue imo. The bosses want their product prepared a specific way and some employees disagree about that. The latter may well be right but this doesn't have to do with wage negotiations or workplace conditions.

They may be issues as well but that seems separate from the bosses asking the writers to stick to sports.
We can't be 100% sure without seeing the full CBA, but from some of what their Executive Editor posted, it appears that the CBA includes language about how much influence the board has compared with the Editorial Staff over content, and any CBA is going to have quite a bit of language about what changes to the nature of the work are allowed and processes for making those changes. If what the Exec. Editor is saying is correct, it's 100% a labor issue. If G/O is violating the CBA, it is a major concern.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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We can't be 100% sure without seeing the full CBA, but from some of what their Executive Editor posted, it appears that the CBA includes language about how much influence the board has compared with the Editorial Staff over content, and any CBA is going to have quite a bit of language about what changes to the nature of the work are allowed and processes for making those changes. If what the Exec. Editor is saying is correct, it's 100% a labor issue. If G/O is violating the CBA, it is a major concern.
I am not privy to the CBA but unless it says the board cannot dictate any editorial direction, I wonder what standing the editors have. The fact that this is being framed as a political fight (labor vs management), rather than a business issue speaks volumes about where we are as a society.

Its chilling to think that anyone besides the owners of a business can dictate how a product or service is produced provided that its done so within the framework of existing laws and regulations. That we are talking about a click-driven web property that has a checkered (at best) past makes it even more scary.

I know you are thoughtful about this stuff but people should try to imagine a scenario where, say, the editorial staff of a publication decides to write with a bias favoring hate speech/groups because they have the editorial authority as outlined in their CBA - it seems problematic that the board couldn't stop that especially if it threatens their investment.

I understand that isn't what happened in this case and that the editorial staff is concerned that the site will fail if they simply "stick to sports" and they may be right. But if people commit capital, they have a right to direct the direction a business takes with the existing laws, even if that decision is to ultimately scale back or shutter the business.
 
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Orel Miraculous

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Its chilling to think that anyone besides the owners of a business can dictate how a product or service is produced provided that its done so within the framework of existing laws and regulations.
It's chilling that owners who enter into a contract which gives certain elements of control over how a product or service is produced to another party . . . then have to act according to that contract?
 

Cellar-Door

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I am not privy to the CBA but unless it says the board cannot dictate any editorial direction, I wonder what standing the editors have. The fact that this is being framed as a political (labor vs management), rather than a business issue speaks volumes about where we are as a society.

Its chilling to think that anyone besides the owners of a business can dictate how a product or service is produced provided that its done so within the framework of existing laws and regulations. That we are talking about a click-driven web property that has a checkered (at best) past makes it even more scary.

I know you are thoughtful about this stuff but people should try to imagine a scenario where, say, the editorial staff of a publication decides to write with a bias favoring hate speech/groups because they have the editorial authority as outlined in their CBA - it seems problematic that the board couldn't stop that especially if it threatens their investment.

I understand that isn't what happened in this case and that the editorial staff is concerned that the site will fail if they simply "stick to sports" and they may be right. But if people commit capital, they have a right to direct the direction a business takes with the existing laws, even if that decision is to ultimately scale back or shutter the business.
Oh i'm sure it's more nuanced, all I've seen is a snipett that basically gives control to the editorial staff, but with the ability to remove content with the vote of the CEO and GC. I'd guess there are a whole lot more restrictions and outs. In fact I'd guess that there is a moderate chance that leadership can do what they wanted to here.

Seems like this was all a bunch of business issues that boiled over (mis-guided switch to chasing clicks, autoplay audio ads, slow bleed of editorial level talent, poor communication from management, a change averse staff, Spanfelder's well earned rep as a sexist, replacing most of the high level positions with Spanfelder's buddies who failed at Forbes) that all is boiling over this week. Overall, what it mostly is, is that a PE firm took over a company they didn't understand, and because they didn't understand it they brought in someone who was the exact wrong person, with a terrible plan, and he's predictably driving it into the ground. What makes it intetresting to me, is that it looks like in the face of brewing rebellion G/O may have screwed themselves with regards to the CBA, letting a lot of staffers force their way out, look good in the process, and maybe collect a nice check for the CBA violation on their way to new jobs. Also publicly tank the value and built-up loyal fanbase. It was exceptionally dumb.
 

gingerbreadmann

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If you don't mind, please clarify what you are getting at with Thiel. It appears that you are saying his obscene wealth and odious politics make it ok that Gawker outed him.
What he was able to do after he was outed is not something that someone should be able to do. To be explicit, TFP made posts using both "entitled" and "tantrum" to describe the actions of Deadspin employees, Orel Miraculous rebutted those claims, and kenney disputed his post over the point that Thiel had a right to be pissed off. I think that is a disingenuous framing of the discussion, not that it is ok to out him. Deadspin 2019 is not Gawker 2012, to say nothing of Thiel.
Its chilling to think that anyone besides the owners of a business can dictate how a product or service is produced provided that its done so within the framework of existing laws and regulations. That we are talking about a click-driven web property that has a checkered (at best) past makes it even more scary.
What bothers me more subliminally is that we are discussing this issue through terms like this and "especially if it threatens their investment." So the employees of the business should have no say? I don't believe anyone -- especially the Deadspin employees -- is denying that the world is cruel and sometimes you have to swallow your pride and your tongue. They have done so for months until we got to the "Stick to Sports" memo yesterday. Watching a union full of employees take an informed stand for itself, doing absolutely nothing it isn't entitled to do, is satisfying to watch. It is more chilling to me that people would view this situation from the outside and err on the side of private equity vultures being wronged.
 

Orel Miraculous

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What bothers me more subliminally is that we are discussing this issue through terms like this and "especially if it threatens their investment." So the employees of the business should have no say? I don't believe anyone -- especially the Deadspin employees -- is denying that the world is cruel and sometimes you have to swallow your pride. But watching a union full of employees take an informed stand for itself, doing absolutely nothing it isn't entitled to do, is satisfying to watch. It is more chilling to me that people would view this situation from the outside and err on the side of private equity vultures are being wronged.
This is very well said. I'm absolutely baffled by the "these employees have bills to pay! they're idiots!" line of criticism (which has been repeatedly trotted out here and elsewhere). If you're one of these employees'; spouses or partners, then sure, you can critique them for that. But if you have no financial stake in their personal well-beings, the why wouldn't you rather see a group of people stand up for their principles together? It really says something that so many people's instinct is to criticize the little guy.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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What bothers me more subliminally is that we are discussing this issue through terms like this and "especially if it threatens their investment." So the employees of the business should have no say? I don't believe anyone -- especially the Deadspin employees -- is denying that the world is cruel and sometimes you have to swallow your pride and your tongue. They have done so for months until we got to the "Stick to Sports" memo yesterday. Watching a union full of employees take an informed stand for itself, doing absolutely nothing it isn't entitled to do, is satisfying to watch. It is more chilling to me that people would view this situation from the outside and err on the side of private equity vultures being wronged.
To be clear, I am not backing "private equity vultures" whatever that means.

Also, I get that you are pro-labor (I typically am, especially when it comes to sports) but setting aside whom the investors are and why anyone should have a problem with rash generalizations impugning anyone from a certain walk of life or profession, I have a problem with investors (be they private equity or mom and pop types) not being able to run their business the way they see fit assuming its lawful. If employees aren't stakeholders and haven't been invited to contribute to the direction of the business, they absolutely should have no say. Wages and working conditions are a different story to be clear.

However if you want people to invest capital in a venture, they need to be able to run it the way they see fit. Its the foundation of our economy and if you start to restrict that, it will have all sorts of knock on effects that don't just impact the evil finance people but will be felt all the way to the people on the streets.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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This is very well said. I'm absolutely baffled by the "these employees have bills to pay! they're idiots!" line of criticism (which has been repeatedly trotted out here and elsewhere). If you're one of these employees'; spouses or partners, then sure, you can critique them for that. But if you have no financial stake in their personal well-beings, the why wouldn't you rather see a group of people stand up for their principles together? It really says something that so many people's instinct is to criticize the little guy.
I dont think many people are criticizing the little guy. To be clear, I am fine with the Deadspin editors Tweeting mad and voting with their feet. They are probably right that the board/backers are running the site into the ground. My only point is that the investors in a business, especially one that has very little imprint on society, have every right to make these decisions. Just as the workers have every right to go elsewhere.
 

Spelunker

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Its chilling to think that anyone besides the owners of a business can dictate how a product or service is produced provided that its done so within the framework of existing laws and regulations. That we are talking about a click-driven web property that has a checkered (at best) past makes it even more scary.
This is a wild statement, and is probably the single best argument for unionization I've read.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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This is a wild statement, and is probably the single best argument for unionization I've read.
But at the same time, the collectively bargained terms could be "you are a writer, you work these hours, get these breaks, $X to retirement fund, etc." While it may be shitty for management to totally change tack on what the site's brand has historically been and the culture the writers on staff signed up for, is this typically covered by an agreement between management and a union? Genuinely curious. Unions are generally a partner on dictating terms of employment, but high level decisions that companies make to determine whether they are profitable or careening towards going out of business, I generally see that as the one bit of power that the executives have. If not for that, what are we even doing with a management team? And I am pro-labor, but at the same time everyone has their role.

What I am seeing in the above dialogue is DBMH's viewpoint of general labor/union relations and whom can dictate what, which I generally agree with. But the disagreement is due to the fact this is a journalistic entity, and I agree this complicates matters when it comes to management fully dictating content decisions. Is the widget "writing by writers knowledgeable about sports" or "sports-based writing"? At the same time, I'd be much more concerned about the sharp change in content if this were WaPo as opposed to Deadspin.
 

Average Reds

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However if you want people to invest capital in a venture, they need to be able to run it the way they see fit. Its the foundation of our economy and if you start to restrict that, it will have all sorts of knock on effects that don't just impact the evil finance people but will be felt all the way to the people on the streets.
You want to know what the actual foundation of the economy is? A series of well-defined laws/regulations/agreements along with enforcement mechanisms that establish the boundaries for how businesses operate. Almost all of those items act as constraints against the ability of investors to run a business in an unfettered fashion.

But let's put all of that aside, because it strikes me that your claim is something of a red herring, in the sense that no one is actually stopping the owners from running the business the way they see fit here. They are simply declining to participate.

What we are seeing is not some bastardization of capitalism - it's an affirmation of free will. The investors are running the business the way they see fit. In doing so, they appear to have assumed that employees will have no choice but to follow their instructions. They were mistaken.

Edit: clarity
 
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Average Reds

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What's weird about all of this is that we're all acting as if this is a binary situation - that Deadspin is some paragon of journalism being trampled by a "vulture capitalist" or that the new owners are entrepreneurial visionaries being stymied by anti-competitive forces.

The Deadspin that is being praised here died a decade or so ago when Daulerio flushed it down the toilet. It's arguable that the Hulk Hogan lawsuit resulted in an unconstitutional verdict that ruined the site, but it's hard to argue against the fact that Daulerio and Deadspin had it coming. He was an awful, irresponsible editor who severely damaged people while hiding behind the first amendment. I sympathize with those who were left behind and tried to reclaim the legacy of the site founded by Will Leitch, but only to a point.

Similarly, I don't really have much sympathy for the new owners. They have an absolute right to change strategies, but that change comes with risk. And one of the risks is that employees who had previously been seen as assets will rebel against the notion that they are mere cogs in the machinery.

In reality, there are no larger principles here. Just the deconstruction of a site that was once an innovator, but is now merely an empty husk.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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This is a wild statement, and is probably the single best argument for unionization I've read.
I am not anti unionization to be clear. I simply don't believe this is a situation where its presence is a factor.

If their CBA actually does explicitly prevent the board from exercising any editorial guidance its a different story.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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No new stories as of this morning either. Looks like they're in full shutdown mode right now, which given that it's Game 7 of the World Series is absolutely crazy.

I changed the thread title to reflect a more recent look at the site.
 

kenneycb

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This is very well said. I'm absolutely baffled by the "these employees have bills to pay! they're idiots!" line of criticism (which has been repeatedly trotted out here and elsewhere). If you're one of these employees'; spouses or partners, then sure, you can critique them for that. But if you have no financial stake in their personal well-beings, the why wouldn't you rather see a group of people stand up for their principles together? It really says something that so many people's instinct is to criticize the little guy.
Oh get the hell out with the moral superiority bullshit. I can have opinions that don't blindly fall on party lines in a battle of big vs. little guy. As I said previously, there's a spectrum here, so not sure why you're trying to pain this as a black or white, us vs. them type of an issue. Small guys can be stupid too. Big guys can be as well. Sometimes they can be stupid at the same time for different reasons. Because humans are complex beings.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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What's weird about all of this is that we're all acting as if this is a binary situation - that Deadspin is some paragon of journalism being trampled by a "vulture capitalist" or that the new owners are entrepreneurial visionaries being stymied by anti-competitive forces.

The Deadspin that is being praised here died a decade or so ago when Daulerio flushed it down the toilet. It's arguable that the Hulk Hogan lawsuit resulted in an unconstitutional verdict that ruined the site, but it's hard to argue against the fact that Daulerio and Deadspin had it coming. He was an awful, irresponsible editor who severely damaged people while hiding behind the first amendment. I sympathize with those who were left behind and tried to reclaim the legacy of the site founded by Will Leitch, but only to a point.

Similarly, I don't really have much sympathy for the new owners. They have an absolute right to change strategies, but that change comes with risk. And one of the risks is that employees who had previously been seen as assets will rebel against the notion that they are mere cogs in the machinery.

In reality, there are no larger principles here. Just the deconstruction of a site that was once an innovator, but is now merely an empty husk.
Technically it was Gawker, wasn't it? I can't remember the details, but the lawsuit was against Gawker and then Deadspin got sold off from that.

As noted above, post-Daulerio the site has rebounded and put out some good stuff. But I agree with your take on Daulerio, he was a morality-free douchebro who nearly drove the site under. He had a lot in common with Portnoy, come to think of it. Portnoy has been more successful in his business but also lacks any kind of moral standing.
 

Snedds

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What's weird about all of this is that we're all acting as if this is a binary situation - that Deadspin is some paragon of journalism being trampled by a "vulture capitalist" or that the new owners are entrepreneurial visionaries being stymied by anti-competitive forces.

The Deadspin that is being praised here died a decade or so ago when Daulerio flushed it down the toilet. It's arguable that the Hulk Hogan lawsuit resulted in an unconstitutional verdict that ruined the site, but it's hard to argue against the fact that Daulerio and Deadspin had it coming. He was an awful, irresponsible editor who severely damaged people while hiding behind the first amendment. I sympathize with those who were left behind and tried to reclaim the legacy of the site founded by Will Leitch, but only to a point.

Similarly, I don't really have much sympathy for the new owners. They have an absolute right to change strategies, but that change comes with risk. And one of the risks is that employees who had previously been seen as assets will rebel against the notion that they are mere cogs in the machinery.

In reality, there are no larger principles here. Just the deconstruction of a site that was once an innovator, but is now merely an empty husk.
I think you're being overly harsh on Deadspin, as you're conflating Deadspin with Gawker. Daulerio was editor of Gawker when he posted the Hogan video and that's where he posted it.

Deadspin (along with Gizmodo, Kotaku etc), where caught up in that lawsuit by virtue of the ownership structure and being under the umbrella of Gawker Media.

EDIT: Beaten by SJH
 

johnmd20

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Gawker was a disgusting website that never contributed anything great. Gawker was vindictive, snarky, and mean. It was the worst of the internet, designed to shame whoever was in Gawker's sites at the time. Deadspin, on the other hand, often accomplished great things.

But now it seems like Deadspin is going to follow Gawker out to pasture.