- Deadspin– the G/O Media-owned sports blog beloved for its honest, unapologetic reporting and penchant for straying outside of the realm of athletics– is haemorrhaging staffers.
- Many of its most prominent writers – including Kelsey McKinney,Lauren Theisen,Tom Ley, Laura Wagner, Chris Thompson,Albert Burneko, Patrick Redford, Samer Kalaf, Drew Magary, Giri Nathan,Dom Consentino, and Dan McQuade – all resigned after a feud between the editorial staff and executives resulted in the firing of former deputy editor Barry Petchsky.
- On Monday, G/O executives sent a memo to writers demanding that they “write only about sports and that which is relevant to sports in some way.”
- The editorial staff, led by Petchsky, defied the order by placing all of their non-traditional “sports” coverage front-and-centre on its site Tuesday.
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Deadspin – the G/O Media-owned sports blog beloved for its honest, unapologetic reporting and penchant for straying outside of the realm of athletics – is haemorrhaging staffers.
Many of its most prominent writers – including Kelsey McKinney,Lauren Theisen,Tom Ley, Laura Wagner, Chris Thompson, Albert Burneko, Patrick Redford, Samer Kalaf,Drew Magary, Giri Nathan,Dom Consentino, and Dan McQuade – all resigned after a feud between the editorial staff and executives resulted in the firing of former deputy editor Barry Petchsky.
Just now I resigned my position at Deadspin today along with many of my colleagues. I have been here only five months but they have been some of the best of my career and I will miss it deeply.
— kelsey mckinney (@mckinneykelsey) October 30, 2019
.@barry no longer works at Deadspin and that means I no longer work at Deadspin. Bye!
— MALIK BEASLEY SZN ???????? NUGGETS 82-0 (@ToLey88) October 30, 2019
hi, so I'm leaving Deadspin. it's been the best two and a half years of my life, but it's time to move on
— Lauren Theisen (@theisen95) October 30, 2019
i have quit my job at Deadspin.
— Chris Thompson (@MadBastardsAll) October 30, 2019
I will also be leaving Deadspin. It was the best four years of my life, and I will miss my pack of wild dogs dearly.
— patrick (@redford) October 30, 2019
OFFICIAL STATEMENT: I have self-yeeted from Deadspin
— Samer (@Samer) October 31, 2019
This is where I leave you. https://t.co/YDcGbwZEEM
— Drew Magary (@drewmagary) October 31, 2019
it was three years of big dumb freedom. i just resigned from Deadspin pic.twitter.com/rAd68r4cki
— giri (@girinathan) October 31, 2019
I just quit, too. Deadspin was a good website.
— Dom Cosentino (@domcosentino) October 31, 2019
Deadspin’s new owners wouldn’t publish my Wildwood boardwalk t-shirt column this summer. I should have quit months ago, instead of just now.
— Dan McQuade (@dhm) October 31, 2019
On Wednesday, the Gizmodo Media Group union issued a statement via its Twitter account:
A statement about the resignations at Deadspin. pic.twitter.com/NrUmtHzZbq
— GMG Union (@gmgunion) October 30, 2019
The statement accused the company’s CEO, Jim Spanfeller, of “curtailing [Deadspin’s] most well-read coverage because it makes him personally uncomfortable.”
“This is not what journalism looks like and it is not what editorial independence looks like,” the statement continued. “‘Stick to sports’ is and always has been a thinly veiled euphemism for ‘don’t speak truth to power.’ In addition to being bad business, Spanfeller’s actions are morally reprehensible.”
But in a statement provided to Business Insider Thursday afternoon, G/O Media insisted that articles directly related to sports accounted for “24 of the top 25 stories on Deadspin” in the month of September “while non-sports content accounted for less than 1 per cent of the page views on the site.”
“Given those facts, we simply believe it makes sense to focus attention and resources on even more sports coverage to serve our readers what they want,” the statement continued. “While amusing, our readers haven’t actually come to Deadspin for stories like ‘Classic Rock, Ranked,’ or ‘You’re Goddamn Right It’s Layering Season,’ or ‘It’s OK to Logoff.’ Sports touches nearly every aspect of life. Our writers have a free hand to cover the intersection of sports and politics, sports and pop culture, sports and business, or, frankly, just about any topic even tangentially related to sports.”
On Monday, an editorial director who reports directly to Spanfeller, sent a memo to writers demanding that they “write only about sports and that which is relevant to sports in some way.” The editorial staff, led by Petchsky, defied the order by placing all of their non-traditional “sports” coverage front-and-centre on its site Tuesday.
Some of the prominently-featured articles included “Three Good Dogs I Met,” “Woman Furiously Shits On Floor Of Tim Hortons, Throws It At Employees,” “What Did We Get Stuck In Our Rectums Last Year?” and, perhaps most notably, “The Adults In The Room,” a piece by former Deadspin editor in chief Megan Greenwell that detailed the unfavourable shifts in the company’s management since it changed hands.
you absolutely love to see it pic.twitter.com/JFyKwfLgEV
— Sophie Kleeman (@sophiekleeman) October 29, 2019
The broader G/O staff also recently clashed over auto-play ads on the site and reader experience.
By Tuesday, Petchsky – the top editor at the blog – was fired “for not sticking to sports.”
Hi! I’ve just been fired from Deadspin for not sticking to sports.
— Barry Petchesky (@barry) October 29, 2019
Earlier today, @JimSpanfeller, CEO of G/O Media, fired our colleague and longtime Deadspin Deputy Editor Barry Petchesky. This will not stand. We will have updates soon.
— GMG Union (@gmgunion) October 29, 2019
Theisen alleged that management tried to smooth things over with staff after Petchsky’s was dismissed. She posted a photo of the meeting:
photo of the meeting where management tried to get us to move past Barry's firing. credit: victor jefferies pic.twitter.com/n1XLGkqltr
— Lauren Theisen (@theisen95) October 30, 2019
Readers, sports enthusiasts, and fellow writers quickly took to Twitter to commend the former Deadspin employees for their integrity and courage.
By quitting, Deadspin's staff aren't just principled, they sent a critical fuck you to every private equity ogre that desecrates great publications. The only way 2 stop it from happening is stopping them from being able to turn a profit. Long live Deadspin. They were the realest
— Otto Von Biz Markie (@Passionweiss) October 30, 2019
Can’t think of one Deadspin critic who has the moral courage to do what that staff is doing right now. Long live Deadspin.
— Bradford Pearson (@BradfordPearson) October 30, 2019
Deadspin Today, Deadspin Tomorrow, Deadspin Forever.
— Will Leitch (@williamfleitch) October 30, 2019
The mass exodus of Deadspin staffers to protest the razing of their publication is truly inspiring. As more vulture capitalists continue to circle digital media, we should all take note—and plan accordingly.
— Kim Kelly (@GrimKim) October 30, 2019
finding myself incredibly moved by the integrity of everyone at deadspin. not something i think about a lot of people in media
— Brandy Jensen (@BrandyLJensen) October 30, 2019
apparenlty g/o just shut off comments on the entirety of deadspin because they are cowards, unlike my friends, the legends
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) October 30, 2019
In a statement to The Daily Beast’s Max Tani, a G/O spokesperson said, “They resigned and we’re sorry that they couldn’t work within this incredibly broad coverage mandate. We’re excited about Deadspin’s future and we’ll have some important updates in the coming days.”
It remains to be seen what the future of the site holds, but Deadspin as we once knew it appears to be gone forever.
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