Grantland

nattysez

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I'm confused by the assumption that all the Grantland people are being fired. Many of them may be, but I'd expect many will now just write/work for ESPN.com. what an I missing?
 

ifmanis5

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Official ESPN statement:
 
Effective immediately we are suspending the publication of Grantland.  After careful consideration, we have decided to direct our time and energy going forward to projects that we believe will have a broader and more significant impact across our enterprise.
Grantland distinguished itself with quality writing, smart ideas, original thinking and fun.  We are grateful to those who made it so.  Bill Simmons was passionately committed to the site and proved to be an outstanding editor with a real eye for talent.  Thanks to all the other writers, editors and staff who worked very hard to create content with an identifiable sensibility and consistent intelligence and quality. We also extend our thanks to Chris Connelly who stepped in to help us maintain the site these past five months as he returns to his prior role.
Despite this change, the legacy of smart long-form sports story-telling and innovative short form video content will continue, finding a home on many of our other ESPN platforms.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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nattysez said:
I'm confused by the assumption that all the Grantland people are being fired. Many of them may be, but I'd expect many will now just write/work for ESPN.com. what an I missing?
 
Can't really blame the employees for assuming they're out of a job given the circumstances, even if they're not.  Most places don't tell the world they're shutting down before they tell the people who work for them.
 

nattysez

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From James Andrew Miller, sounds like no writers are being fired for now.

https://twitter.com/JimMiller/status/660158782408949760
 

Cellar-Door

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Clears Cleaver said:
Zach Lowe is free?!?!

Sucks but was inevitable. ESPN is hemmoraging, they just put kibosh on acc network, jacoby/jalen moved to radio, etc
Nope, they'll just shuffle him to the obscurity of the main NBA page.
 
Edit- Keri too. I'd guess it is only the pop-culture people who get the axe.
 

Hoya81

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I loved everyone I worked with at G and loved what we built. Watching good/kind/talented people get treated so callously = simply appalling.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) October 30, 2015
 

The Social Chair

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When Simmons first announced the project on his podcast with Klosterman he said he wanted to create a space to give young writers a platform. It did such a great job of achieving that goal . A shame that space won't exist anymore for other young writers. 
 

JimD

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I'd love someone to ask John Skipper why Grantland had to be shut down at the same time that they're ramping up The Undefeated (and why ESPN hosts FiveThirtyEight.com instead of Disney sister entity ABC News).
 

jimbobim

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It's a mind numbing how ham handed of an ending it is. If you are another media outlet you have to be trying to snap up the Lowe,Keri, and other talent now feeling publicly punched in the nuts. Sure it was like a train coming down the inevitable tracks, but as an English major I thoroughly enjoyed the writing. 
 

axx

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JimD said:
I'd love someone to ask John Skipper why Grantland had to be shut down at the same time that they're ramping up The Undefeated (and why ESPN hosts FiveThirtyEight.com instead of Disney sister entity ABC News).
 
Is there any traffic stats available? I imagine Grantland's traffic wasn't much once Simmons left. As for FiveThirtyEight, you are right that it doesn't make sense at all on ESPN. Then again, maybe it too will be gone after the 2016 elections.
 

ifmanis5

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That the parent company is in a financial crunch at the moment didn't exactly help either. Great tweets by Ken, though. Right on the money.
 

axx

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jimbobim said:
It's a mind numbing how ham handed of an ending it is. If you are another media outlet you have to be trying to snap up the Lowe,Keri, and other talent now feeling publicly punched in the nuts. Sure it was like a train coming down the inevitable tracks, but as an English major I thoroughly enjoyed the writing. 
 
This is a bad time in general for ESPN due to cord cutters and then spending more and more on rights fees. Something's gotta give.
 

Clears Cleaver

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Most everyone is under contract and basically have to stay or will have garden leave if they want to leave. Wonder if anyone recently reupped and now are stuck being guests in around the horn or writers for First Take
 

Cellar-Door

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Clears Cleaver said:
Most everyone is under contract and basically have to stay or will have garden leave if they want to leave. Wonder if anyone recently reupped and now are stuck being guests in around the horn or writers for First Take
Rumors were that Lowe and Shoemaker both re-upped. Lowe obviously they'd want to keep for NBA stuff, but if it's true on Shoemaker what will they even do with him?
 

Van Everyman

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Is there any indication that HBO might pick this mantle up in any way? I get why they wouldn't – Simmons in their tent notwithstanding, it's hard to imagine long form sports journalism ever being the bread and butter of what is fundamentally always going to be a movie cable channel. That said, Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel is the real deal and in some ways you have to wonder if they would consider it.
 

bbc23

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Clears Cleaver said:
Most everyone is under contract and basically have to stay or will have garden leave if they want to leave. Wonder if anyone recently reupped and now are stuck being guests in around the horn or writers for First Take
Deitsch reported on Twitter in the past couple weeks around the time Littman and Ryan joined Simmons that 7 people had re-upped with Grantland.  I don't believe it's known who those 7 were though.
 

soxhop411

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Also get rid of first take if you are really getting out of the pop culture business. It's the worst show on ESPN
 

The Social Chair

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bbc23 said:
Deitsch reported on Twitter in the past couple weeks around the time Littman and Ryan joined Simmons that 7 people had re-upped with Grantland.  I don't believe it's known who those 7 were though.
 
 
Lowe and the Masked Man were two of them. No idea what happens to the latter. 
 

Rook05

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It's a shame and the writing was on the wall, but "ham handed" is exactly right.

Beyond that, though, it seems incredibly short sighted by ESPN and Disney. The #1 thing cable providers are scrambling for is content. Sports provides appointment television, but demographics are shifting. Grantland provided a great platform for them to connect with a younger audience while incubating tomorrow's content drivers. ESPN might say that "blogging" is a deadend, but look where that got Simmons. They might say podcasting can't make money, but that model is, what, five years old? I'm in my mid-30s and I haven't turned on the radio in years.

I'd love to see what Grantland's line item cost within EPSN. It's got to be a drop in the bucket. Even if it's a slight loss leader, there's something to be said for investing in the future. I'm down to MNF and Mike Reiss at this point. Fuck them.
 

Van Everyman

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I'm going to offer a counterpunch...

Every time a publication like this shuts down or gets reorganized beyond recognition (TNR, is that you?), a host of writers flock to Twitter to bemoan its loss and question the motives of the parent organization.

I understand why – and I often share their disappointment. But here's the thing:

Great journalism doesn't have a *right* to exist.

And large companies aren't obligated to fund it out of their corporate profits. I mean, I suppose I'd understand that argument if ta mission-driven media organization like the NYT were shutting down GL (who frankly, have enough problems as it is).

But this is Disney. They are an entertainment company. They have shareholders, which is always the risk with ventures like these. That a company like Disney funded this thing in the first place—and for four years—is actually kind of awesome. We now have a pretty amazing template to operate from – and maybe some lessons learned about how to make something like this more sustainable going forward.

That's what I keep telling myself anyway.
 

Toe Nash

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Van Everyman said:
I'm going to offer a counterpunch...

Every time a publication like this shuts down or gets reorganized beyond recognition (TNR, is that you?), a host of writers flock to Twitter to bemoan its loss and question the motives of the parent organization.

I understand why – and I often share their disappointment. But here's the thing:

Great journalism doesn't have a *right* to exist.

And large companies aren't obligated to fund it out of their corporate profits. I mean, I suppose I'd understand that argument if ta mission-driven media organization like the NYT were shutting down GL (who frankly, have enough problems as it is).

But this is Disney. They are an entertainment company. They have shareholders, which is always the risk with ventures like these. That a company like Disney funded this thing in the first place—and for four years—is actually kind of awesome. We now have a pretty amazing template to operate from – and maybe some lessons learned about how to make something like this more sustainable going forward.

That's what I keep telling myself anyway.
I totally agree.
 
If it was really "appalling" to Simmons, well, figure out a way to make it work on its own. You have the sway and as noted you have a template. And maybe he is, and that would be great. But otherwise...
 
Life goes on and the writers who are good will get picked up elsewhere, or write books, or whatever.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Well, if anyone is interested in reliving the day that the National shutdown (which I think was one of Grantland's first stories), now you can!
 

Cellar-Door

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Toe Nash said:
I totally agree.
 
If it was really "appalling" to Simmons, well, figure out a way to make it work on its own. You have the sway and as noted you have a template. And maybe he is, and that would be great. But otherwise...
 
Life goes on and the writers who are good will get picked up elsewhere, or write books, or whatever.
I think Simmons' "appalling" line was about the fact that once again ESPN just released a statement and everyone who actually works there found out on twitter that their jobs were either gone or about to drastically change.
 
Edit- ESPN has really badly managed everything involving Grantland since the Simmons firing. They did that one on twitter as well. Then they have strung it along by talking up how Grantland was a priority and would continue on. Then they had the issues with not letting them thank the long-time editors who left, then they shut it down shortly after trying to get the talent to sign new deals.
 

JBill

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Found so many great writers through Grantland. Read the site several times a week and listened to a few of the podcasts, including my favorite pop culture one, Hollywood Prospectus.

So this sucks. ESPN is the worst.
 

gingerbreadmann

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John Marzano Olympic Hero said:
Well, if anyone is interested in reliving the day that the National shutdown (which I think was one of Grantland's first stories), now you can!
 
Who is Tony Kornheiser this time around?
 

GBrushTWood

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soxhop411 said:
@MJ_Baumann: Well that's the first time I've ever found out I was laid off via Twitter
 
Well played...everyone loves a good ol' Friday afternoon news dump.
 
Somewhere in New York, an empty NFL public relations suit is nodding his head in approval at this announcement. 
 

Van Everyman

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Here's another counter-perspective:

Imagine being John Skipper. You were Simmons' biggest champion for 15 years. At a time when people were wondering where the WWL was headed after its first initial run of talent had dispersed, you were the muscle behind Simmons' building this amazing empire that, in turn, helped the ESPN brand grow and mature. And you got credit for that.

In less than a year's time, it's all gone. You have chased out your partner and torn almost all of what you built together down. And pretty much everybody hates you for it and holds you responsible.

I'm sure Skipper is well paid for his work but jeez.
 

mandro ramtinez

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ESPN wants to build a model where they don't rely on the personalities of their media stars for ratings and they don't rely on quality writing for their web traffic.
 

Dehere

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Toe Nash said:
I totally agree.
 
If it was really "appalling" to Simmons, well, figure out a way to make it work on its own. You have the sway and as noted you have a template. And maybe he is, and that would be great. But otherwise...
 
Life goes on and the writers who are good will get picked up elsewhere, or write books, or whatever.
Thirded. This is the nature of the content creation business. Grantland never generated enough readership or revenue to survive without being subsidized by the profitable parts of the company. That can't go on forever. Shows get canceled, sites get shuttered. It happens.

Simmons by every account was a much-loved boss for his support of the work itself, but part of running a company is protecting the people who work for you and let's be honest, he put his whole staff in a very precarious place when he dared Skipper to suspend him.
 

GBrushTWood

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Van Everyman said:
Here's another counter-perspective:

Imagine being John Skipper. You were Simmons' biggest champion for 15 years. At a time when people were wondering where the WWL was headed after its first initial run of talent had dispersed, you were the muscle behind Simmons' building this amazing empire that, in turn, helped the ESPN brand grow and mature. And you got credit for that.

In less than a year's time, it's all gone. You have chased out your partner and torn almost all of what you built together down. And pretty much everybody hates you for it and holds you responsible.

I'm sure Skipper is well paid for his work but jeez.
 
Not sure if you are implying Skipper is some type of sympathetic figure. If so, do you still feel that way after reading this article
 
IMO, the guy comes across like Baghdad Bob. The walls are closing in on this douche.
 

Van Everyman

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Not sympathy really -- just that this is a guy who started as a writer for Rolling Stone out of college and who now has absolutely has become Bagdhad Bob. These kinds of situations have a way of making everyone a loser in some aspect. 
 
Edit: Just to be clear: I just don't think John Skipper, Columbia Journalism Graduate, set out to work for a company where he would be pushing out all their best journalistic talent.
 

The Social Chair

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Robert Mays has good story on his twitter about how he got the job at Grantland. I hope Simmons finds away to keep helping young writers.