The head of G/O Media, which owns The Onion, Jezebel and other popular websites, is going on the defensive over a planned expose on his hiring practices — to be published by one of his own reporters.
G/O Media’s CEO, Jim Spanfeller, is punching back at a yet-to-be-published report by Deadspin about his hiring of “older white guys” from his past to run the company, which also runs Gizmodo, Splinter and The Root.
As The Post reported on July 18, G/O Media staffers have been complaining that Spanfeller — tapped to run the dozen websites by private equity firm Great Hill Partners earlier this year — has been relying on his connections from Playboy and Forbes Media to run the company without posting jobs publicly.
Instead of waiting for the Deadspin report to hit., Spanfeller circulated a three-page memo to all G/O Media staffers blasting the G/O web site’s reporting process, including complaints that he was not given enough time to respond to questions.
“I and the management team received a list of questions from the reporter working this story for Deadspin and those questions left me greatly concerned about the objectivity and core intentions of this piece,” Spanfeller’s memo said. “While we were given a 3 pm deadline today to respond to dozens of questions, I understand that the folks at Deadspin have already submitted their story for legal review and plan to publish it on Wednesday — all without ever seeing any of the responses to the questions that they asked.”
Deadspin’s report investigating the complaints had been set to be published on Wednesday morning, according to a rep from G/O.
Deadspin editor in chief Megan Greenwell denied that the report is scheduled to be published Wednesday, saying it was sent to legal department Tuesday in anticipation of a “lengthy process.”
A planned relaunch of snarky news and gossip website Gawker is on hold indefinitely, The Post has learned.
Bustle Digital Group, which owns Gawker, laid off the website’s entire staff Tuesday and called off its planned September relaunch, the company has confirmed.
“We can confirm that we are postponing the Gawker launch,” a BDG spokesperson said. “For now, we are focusing company resources and efforts on our most recent acquisitions, Mic, The Outline, Nylon and Inverse.”
The site’s axed staff included editor-in-chief Dan Peres, editorial director Carson Griffith, writer Nate Hopper and sales exec Amanda Hale.
BDG chief executive Bryan Goldberg said he plans to relaunch the site at a later, unspecified date.
“It’s no secret that we have faced a number of challenges from the start,” Goldberg said. “We want to thank Dan Peres and the rest of the Gawker team who have worked tirelessly on this project. We’ve made a number of acquisitions over the last year and intend to focus our efforts on those brands.”
According to insiders, attracting talent has been difficult.
Earlier this year, Gawker’s only two reporters quit ahead of a planned January relaunch. The staffers complained that Griffith had made offensive comments in the office about everything from poor people to black writers to an acquaintance’s penis size.
We will all benefit if the Los Angeles Times becomes a West Coast counterweight to those dailies in New York and D.C. But it’ll take a bigger investment in reader retention to get there.
When Patrick Soon-Shiong bought the Los Angeles Times out of its tronckian purgatory last year, it was an occasion to consider where it sat on the increasingly barbell-shaped spectrum of American newspapers.
You see, other than the two nationals aimed at niche audiences — The Wall Street Journal for business types, USA Today for people staying at the Days Inn by the airport — pretty much all American newspapers used to be recognizably in the same business. Take a look, for instance, at print circulation numbers for an assortment of big dailies in 2002, before the web hath wrought what it wrought:
|Newspaper||2002 print circ|
|The New York Times||1,113,000|
|Los Angeles Times||965,633|
|The Washington Post||746,724|
|New York Daily News||715,070|
|The Dallas Morning News||521,956|
|San Francisco Chronicle||512,129|