Ousted Gawker Editor Gabe Snyder: I Have No Idea Why "Mercurial" Nick Denton Just Dumped Me

Just a moment ago we reported that Gawker Media was buying CityFile, and replacing editor-in-chief Gabriel Snyder with Remy Stern.

In Nick Denton’s memo, he speaks highly of Snyder and notes that he was offered a management position.

Anyway, here’s Snyder’s take, which he sent in memo to staff.


Honesty is Gawker’s only virtue, so it seems inappropriate to engage in the usual corporate euphemisms of “wanting to explore new new opportunities” or “take a larger role in the company” or “spend more time with my family” (though eighteen-hour days and seven-day work weeks do take their toll on personal relationships), so I’ll put this as plainly as we’d report any other masthead ouster: I am being canned.

Building this website into what it is today — a big operation with 11 writers, a regular source of national news and a challenger to the mainstream media organisations that it once mocked — has been the best job of my career. Transitioning from print to online meant adopting an entirley new biorhythm. Transitioning from writer to editor has meant learning to bask in the reflected glory of the talented staff who contribute every day. I love Gawker and adore the crew that makes it happen.

You deserve all the credit; my role has been to push you to be yourselves: Alex Pareene’s incisive political commentary, John Cook’s dogged reporting and clear-headed analysis, Brian Moylan’s ability to enunciate conversation-starting ideas, Richard Lawson’s ability to produce dazzling copy at superhuman speeds, Ryan Tate’s cliche-free coverage of Silicon Valley, Hamilton Nolan’s workhorse ethic and humour, Doree Shafrir’s gimlet-eyed appraisals of the culture and society around her. Waking up each morning to the work of Adrian Chen, Maureen O’Connor and Ravi Somaiya is a pleasure. Watching Foster Kamer dance on the stage each weekend is a joy. You, without a doubt, make up the strongest staff Gawker’s ever had, and make the site the best it’s ever been.

Eighteen months ago, when I first sat down with Nick to discuss taking over the Gawker helm from him, I saw a huge opportunity to build a site from its roots as an intimate discussion among Manhattan’s power elite and build it into a national news brand (an aspiration that seems to come up every time there’s a masthead shakeup around here). Attaining those goals have been the biggest accomplishment of my career. As I saw it, Facebook, Twitter and smaller blogs had slowly encroached on the role Gawker once served. Among the most difficult, though most rewarding to the site, efforts was to take the site from a bankers’ hours schedule to publishing 24 hours around the clock, weekends included. I believed the site could be grown beyond its traditional audience by focusing on news from the nation’s four cultural capitals (New York, D.C., L.A. and San Francisco) — which became even more clear when I was given the task of integrating former standalone sites Defamer and Valleywag into the flagship. Oh, and then there have been the stories. It’s become common to see national newspapers and broadcasts cite Gawker on vast array of stories: the U.S. Kabul embassy security dudes behaving badly, the Hipster Grifter saga, leading the entire media for a weekend on the Balloon Boy fiasco, those pictures of Katie Couric dancing, pillorying Harold Ford through simple questions, Annie Leibovitz’s financial meltdown, the Late Night Wars, Facebook privacy, Anna Wintour … more than I can count. I was determined to compete with the biggest news sites on the internet. And today, I am glad to say it does.

But the history of Gawker Media careers shows that they tend to burn bright and fast. So it shouldn’t have come as a much of a surprise when our mercurial owner told me he’s hatched other plans for Gawker. He offered me a new, temporary position as an assistant managing editor of Gawker Media as a holding job, which I have declined. I can’t see how I’d be in a position to succeed at the role going into it with one foot literally out the door. I’ll be editing the site until Friday. After that, please stay in touch ([email protected]). ¬†And needless to say, as of now I am on the market and will be beating the media bushes for my next opportunity.

I will miss you all.


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