Gawker Media Lays Off Employees As Flagship Site Shifts Focus to Politics

Gawker Media announced in an internal memo Tuesday that it is laying off seven editorials staffers and shifting the focus of its flagship site to politics. The company is also abandoning plans to license Kinja, its ambitious — and expensive — proprietary blogging platform.

Gawker’s retooling as a politics site will come under the leadership of former Wonkette editor and Salon columnist Alex Pareene, named editor-in-chief last month. (As part of the broader move, the company will make six new editorial hires, a company representative says.)  A memo from Gawker Media executive editor John Cook, published on the Awl, expands on the decision:

Pareene’s Gawker will focus intensely on politics, broadly considered, and the 2016 campaign. Never before has a political season promised to be so ripe for the kind of punishing satire and absurdist wit that Alex has perfected over his career—a spirit I saw in action up close when he was a Gawker blogger back in 2009, and also when he was a manager and editorial leader at First Look. The world sadly never got to see Racket, the satirical site Alex was cooking up over there, but Alex’s Gawker will take on some of that project’s character.

Cook’s memo also announced the names of editorial staffers being laid off, including Taylor Berman, Jason Parham, Kelly Conaboy, and Jay Hathaway at Gawker and Natasha Vargas Cooper at Jezebel: 

At least eight freelancers will also lose their gigs as the company shuts down subverticals, the Awl reports. That number includes Gawker’s weather blog the Vane, until recently helmed by Dennis Mersereau.

In addition to the editorial layoffs, Scott Kidder, the company’s chief of operations, is leaving the company, a source told Daily Intelligencer.

Gawker Layoffs As Site Shifts to Politics Focus