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Nick Denton

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At Least Sam Zell Is Pragmatic About the Fact That Most Journalists Are Functional Alcoholics

MEDIA • Sam Zell, the real-estate tycoon turned media mogul, took his brusque, fake-folksy style to his minions at the Tribune with a new employee manual. A few samples: "7.1. If you use or abuse alcohol or drugs and fail to perform the duties required by your job acceptably, you are likely to be terminated. … Coming to work drunk is bad judgment. 7.2. If you do not use or abuse alcohol or drugs and fail to perform the duties required by your job acceptably, you are likely to be terminated." Also, "You may want to think twice before you enter into an intimate relationship with a co-worker. When you start, it might seem like a good idea. It’s when you stop, or the wrong people find out (and they will) that you could discover that perhaps it wasn’t." [WP, Tribune] • Judith Regan on Giuliani: "Is he getting uglier? Is his face looking more twisted? What happened to him?" Don't feel too bad, Rudy. You know what they say: When someone teases you like this, it means she likes you. [Mixed Media/Portfolio] • Facebook threatened to revoke Nick Denton's account after the blog-lord posted pics of Steve Brill's recent-college-grad daughter Emily. [Gawker, Daily Brief/Portfolio]

Gawker Writer Quits After Just One Day of Work

Denton
All is not well in the house of Denton. We hear that just one day after media reporter Richard Morgan began at Gawker.com, he's already quit. Just yesterday, site owner and (new) managing editor Nick Denton made much ado about the Website's brave new image for 2008, including a role for Morgan covering the TV networks. But it turns out Denton's pledge to elevate more serious journalistic work on the blog wasn't as fulfilled as Morgan had hoped. "I believed what Nick said about making the site more reported, making it more mainstream, and, vainly, thought that's why he hired me," Morgan told us over IM just now. The former freelance writer has covered science, media, ideas, and lifestyle for publications like New York (woot woot!), Forbes, the Times, Discover, and Slate. "[Denton] is erratic," he told us. "There is no vision beyond page views. I was announced as being some kind of television beat writer. And I spent the day reading TV blogs and e-mailing and calling and meeting with TV folks. And Nick would tell me to post, like, something about Us Weekly getting Ashlee Simpson's engagement wrong. And then he wanted me to do another on Playgirl." "He is obsessed with the gay mafia," Morgan added, which is confusing, because we never thought of Denton as being self-obsessed. Big-headed maybe, but in a purely physical way only. "Jesus spent three days in Hell," Morgan said. "I could only handle one." Richard Morgan [Official site] Update: Denton IMs with a response! "Richard Morgan didn't so much quit as splutter out. We did manage to get two publishable posts out of him before that happened. I wish him luck at a more leisurely institution." Related: Everybody Sucks

The ‘Times’ Touches Upon Checkbook Journalism — With Two Fingers, Of Course

MEDIA • "OK!, the celebrity magazine, could not possibly have purchased all the attention it enjoyed in late December after it got the scoop that Jamie Lynn Spears, the younger and until then less sensational sister of the troubled pop queen Britney Spears, was three months pregnant. Or could it?" [NYT] • Josh Stein isn't actually leaving Gawker; Emily Gould will write for Jezebel; Choire Sicha will continue contributing columns; and recently departed Wonkette editor Ken Layne returned after just a few months off the job. Can anyone escape the tentacles of Nick Denton? [HuffPo] • The Writers Guild plans to picket Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, and Conan O'Brien as the three late-night hosts return to the air. Letterman gets off easy since he struck a deal with the writers and may get a big boost since big stars (like Robin Williams, natch) won't have to cross the pickets to go on his show. [NYO, NYT]

Gawking at the Gawkers

Nick Denton
JPRESS: Hey Chris! It's Friday, so instead of writing up the Gawker book parties we went to last night, how about we just IM about it and publish our whole conversation? Because, as you know, our readers are interested in our every thought and social maneuver.
CHRISTAL: That sounds great! Because you know I am so hung-over I don't even know how I'm going to get through the day.
JPRESS: Isn't that always the way with blogging? So! You were at Nick Denton's, which in my head I was calling the "adult party" because like, none of the editors were invited. But I guess they crashed?
CHRISTAL: You couldn't crash. There were three girls guarding the door. It was totally awkward when people who were uninvited showed up. Like me.

How Much Does a Blog Mogul Make?

Nick Denton
Yesterday, someone calling himself Shylock slapped together some data on the traffic over at Gawker Media, the network of blogs run by immensely cranium'd publisher Nick Denton and written by a rotating cast of editors. Sparing you the calculations on page views and ad rates, we'll cut to the chase: Shylock figured that Gawker Media was making some $52 million in annual revenue. It's okay: We oopsied a little too. But blogger Greg Allen then took a far more sensible take, deducting all sorts of things from that massive retail number (like ad space that goes unused, probably discounts for advertisers who buy in bulk, commission for sales staff, etc.) and came up with a mere $20 million in annual revenue. We're skeptical Allen is exactly correct, but his figure sounds more reasonable, and, hating math as we do, we'll stick with his number. But, even so, that's still only revenue. When expenses are considered, just how many dollars does the chinny cherub actually get to stuff in his big, British pockets? Let's investigate!