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Deadspin is a sports blog founded by Will Leitch in 2005. Previously owned by Gawker Media and Univision Communications, it is currently owned by G/O Media.

Deadspin
Deadspin.svg
Type of site
Sports
OwnerG/O Media
Websitedeadspin.com
Alexa rankDecrease 3,062 (November 2019)[1]
CommercialYes
RegistrationOptional
LaunchedSeptember 9, 2005; 14 years ago (2005-09-09)
Current statusOnline

Deadspin posts daily previews, recaps, and commentaries of major sports stories, as well as sports-related anecdotes, rumors, and videos. In addition to covering sports, the site writes about the media, pop culture, and politics, and publishes several non-sports sub-sections, including The Concourse[2] and the humor blog Adequate Man.[3] Contrasting with traditional sports updates of other outlets,[4] Deadspin is known for its irreverent, conversational tone,[5] often injecting crude humor into its writing and taking a critical lens to the topics it covered.[4] Over time, the site expanded into more investigative journalism and broke several stories, including the revelation of the Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax.[4]

Alumni writers of Deadspin have gone on to work for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Sports Illustrated.[4] From October to November 2019, the website's entire writing and editorial staff resigned due to conflicts with G/O Media management over a directive to "stick to sports".

History

Deadspin was founded in December 2005 by editor-in-chief Will Leitch in his Boston Apartment where he wrote 40 blog posts a day[6],[4] author and a founding editor of the New York City-based culture website, "The Black Table". The blog joined the Gawker Media network of websites.[4] Leitch announced on June 5, 2008 that he would be leaving to take a position at New York magazine.[7] He was replaced by A. J. Daulerio, former senior writer for the site.[8] Author and journalist Drew Magary, formerly a frequent contributor to the site's comments section, joined as an editor and chief columnist in 2008.

Time magazine named the site one of the 50 coolest websites of 2006.[9]

Deadspin was one of six websites that were purchased by Univision Communications in their acquisition of Gawker Media in August 2016.[10] The Gizmodo Media Group was subsequently formed to operate the properties.[11]

The website's masthead[12] consisted of editor-in-chief Megan Greenwell, managing editor Tom Ley, senior editor Diana Moskovitz, along with a staff of full-time writers and regular contributors.

Conflict with G/O Media management

In April 2019, the Gizmodo Media Group was purchased by private equity firm Great Hill Partners and was renamed G/O Media, with Jim Spanfeller appointed as CEO.[13] Greenwell resigned from Deadspin effective August 23, 2019. She cited dysfunction caused by corporate management, attempts by them to intimidate writers out of reporting on it, and undermining and condescending to the site's senior staff.[14]

In late October 2019, the editorial staff across several G/O Media sites, including Deadspin, posted articles acknowledging complaints from readers about advertisements that were autoplaying with audio. The Deadspin post said that the editorial staff "are as upset with the current state of our site's user experience as [readers] are" but that they could not control the "ad experience". The posts were subsequently removed by G/O Media management.[15] The Gizmodo Media Group (GMG) union, which represents editors and writers across the G/O Media sites and is supported by Writers Guild of America, East,[16] responded to the post removals with a statement that said, "We condemn this action in the strongest possible terms."[15] According to The Wall Street Journal, G/O Media enabled the autoplaying ads in an attempt to fulfill the terms of an advertising deal it agreed to with Farmers Insurance Group. The companies had signed a deal worth $1 million that was planned to run from September 2019–2020 and required G/O Media to deliver 43.5 million impressions. However, after the first few weeks of the campaign, the G/O media and operations teams did not think they could meet that goal and subsequently enabled the ads.[17] Farmers ultimately backed out of the deal on October 30.[15]

That same week, G/O Media editorial director Paul Maidment sent a memo to Deadspin employees ordering them to discontinue any content not related to sports. He said that in order to "create as much great sports journalism" as possible, "Deadspin will write only about sports and that which is relevant to sports in some way."[18] The GMG union called the changes in the site's content "undermin[ing] the nearly two decades of work writers have put into building a profitable brand with an enormous, dedicated readership". On October 29, following the memo, staffers filled the site's front page with non-sports stories that had been among the site's most popular in the past; by that afternoon, interim editor-in-chief Barry Petchesky had been fired for "not sticking to sports."[16]

As a result of Petchesky's firing, at least ten employees participated in a mass resignation on October 30. Among those who left were Ley,[19] writers Albert Burneko, Kelsey McKinney, Patrick Redford, Lauren Theisen, Chris Thompson, and Laura Wagner. Moskovitz also announced her departure, though she had given her two weeks' notice the week prior. Comments on the site were subsequently disabled as well.[20] The GMG union posted a statement saying: "Today, a number of our colleagues at Deadspin resigned from their positions. From the outset, CEO Jim Spanfeller has worked to undermine a successful site by curtailing its most well-read coverage because it makes him personally uncomfortable. This is not what journalism looks like, and this is not what editorial independence looks like. 'Stick to sports' is and always been a thinly veiled euphemism for 'don't speak truth to power.' In addition to being bad business, Spanfeller's actions are morally reprehensible." On October 31, Magary and Dan McQuade announced their departures.[21] By November 1, the entire staff of nearly 20 writers and editors had announced their resignations or already departed.[4] U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders expressed his support for the editorial staff, tweeting, "I stand with the former @Deadspin workers who decided not to bow to the greed of private equity vultures like @JimSpanfeller. This is the kind of greed that is destroying journalism across the country, and together we are going to take them on".[22]

Maidment resigned from G/O Media on November 5, 2019, stating that it was the "right moment" to "pursue an entrepreneurial opportunity".[23]

Content overview

Deadspin's last post each evening, tagged DUAN ("Deadspin Up All Night"), is infamous for its occasionally viral and usually wildly diverse commentaries.[24]

Reporting

Deadspin broke the story of NFL quarterback Brett Favre's alleged sexual misconduct toward journalist Jenn Sterger.[25][26]

Deadspin also broke the story of Sarah Phillips, a reporter hired by ESPN who lied about her identity and credentials to staffers in order to gain employment.[27]

In 2013, Deadspin broke the news that the reported September 2012 death of the girlfriend of Notre Dame All-American linebacker Manti Te'o, which Te'o had said inspired him during the 2012 season, was apparently a hoax. Deadspin found no evidence that the girlfriend had ever existed, much less died.[28][29]

Deadspin received attention for "buying" a vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame election in 2013. The site announced in late November 2013 that it had acquired a vote from a BBWAA writer which was "purchased" not through a cash payment to the writer, but instead to a charity of the writer's choice.[30] On January 8, after the Hall of Fame voting was announced, Deadspin revealed that its voter was Miami Herald sportswriter Dan Le Batard. Le Batard was heavily criticized by fellow sportswriters for "selling" his vote.[31] The BBWAA permanently revoked his Hall of Fame voting privileges and suspended his membership for one year.[32]

In 2014, Deadspin provided coverage of the Gamergate controversy, "expos[ing] a shocking view of sexism and harassment in the gaming industry to the wider public", according to Salon.[33]

On October 15, 2014, Deadspin published an article which alleged that Cory Gardner, the Republican who ran for the U.S. Senate in Colorado, had faked his high school football career. Later that day, Gardner tweeted photographic evidence of himself in his football uniform as a teenager, and the main source of the story said the report mischaracterized his comments.[34] Deadspin updated the article with an editor's note which stated the correct information.[35][36] Conservative blog The Washington Free Beacon criticized the article as a "politically-motivated hit."[37]

After Deadspin posted an article asking readers to post proof of Ted Cruz playing basketball,[38] Cruz responded by jokingly tweeting a picture of Duke University star Grayson Allen, which then prompted Deadspin to reply with "Go eat shit."[39][40][41]

In July 2017, Deadspin sparked controversy when in response to Senator John McCain's brain cancer diagnosis, Deadspin's Twitter account tweeted that the website did not want to "hear another fucking word about John McCain unless he dies or does something useful for once."[42]

In March 2018, The Concourse posted a video showcasing versions of a controversial "journalistic responsibility" promo being produced by television stations owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, which helped bring mainstream attention to them.[43][44]

References

  1. ^ "Deadspin.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  2. ^ "The Concourse - Culture, food, whatever". The Concourse. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  3. ^ "Adequate Man - Be good enough at everything". Adequate Man. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Strauss, Ben (November 1, 2019). "Deadspin's entire editorial staff is gone". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  5. ^ Liew, Jonathan (November 1, 2019). "Deadspin, the limits of 'sticking to sport' and why we should never just shut up and consume". The Independent. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  6. ^ Strauss, Ben. "At Deadspin, can the cool kids of the sports internet become its moral authority?". Boston.com. The Washing Post. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  7. ^ Leitch, Will. "A Note From Your Editor". Deadspin. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  8. ^ Leitch, Will. "Meet Your New Editor(s)". Deadspin. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  9. ^ Buechner, Maryanne Murray (August 3, 2006). "50 Coolest Websites 2006". Time.
  10. ^ Calderone, Michael (August 18, 2016). "Gawker.com Ending Operations Next Week". HuffPost. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  11. ^ Villafañe, Veronica. "Univision Rebrands Gawker Media As Gizmodo Media Group; Starts Translating Content For Univision.com". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-01-12.
  12. ^ "About Deadspin". Deadspin. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  13. ^ Ha, Anthony (April 8, 2019). "Gizmodo Media Group acquired by private equity firm Great Hill Partners". TechCrunch. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  14. ^ Greenwell, Megan (August 23, 2019). "The Adults in the Room". Deadspin. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  15. ^ a b c Tani, Maxwell (October 30, 2019). "Farmers Insurance Pulls Million-Dollar Ad Campaign With G/O Media After Editorial Staff Raises Hell". The Daily Beast.
  16. ^ a b Flynn, Kerry (October 29, 2019). "Deadspin revolts and editor fired over 'stick to sports' mandate". CNN. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  17. ^ Patel, Sahil (October 29, 2019). "Hostilities Rise Inside G/O Media Over Autoplay Video Ads and Politics". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  18. ^ Tani, Maxwell. "G/O Media Tells Deadspin Staff in Leaked Memo: Stick to Sports". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  19. ^ Tom Ley (October 30, 2019) ".@barry no longer works at Deadspin and that means I no longer work at Deadspin. Bye!" [1]
  20. ^ Tracy, Marc (October 30, 2019). "Stick to Sports? No Way. Deadspin Journalists Quit en Masse". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  21. ^ Finn, Chad (October 31, 2019). "Writers resign from Deadspin en masse in wake of 'stick to sports' demand". The Boston Globe. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  22. ^ Segers, Grace (November 1, 2019). "After Deadspin reporters resign, Bernie Sanders condemns private equity firm in tweet". CBS News. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  23. ^ Bogage, Jacob (November 5, 2019). "Deadspin executive who sent 'stick to sports' memo resigns". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  24. ^ "Duan News, Video and Gossip - Deadspin". DUAN.
  25. ^ "Brett Favre faces more allegations". ESPN.com. ESPN.com news services. October 8, 2010. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  26. ^ Dailey, Kate (January 19, 2011). "What Frank Deford Gets Wrong About Deadspin's Brett Favre Pictures". Newsweek. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  27. ^ Koblin, John (May 1, 2012). "Is An ESPN Columnist Scamming People On The Internet?". Deadspin. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  28. ^ "Story of Manti Te'o girlfriend a hoax". ESPN.com. January 17, 2013. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  29. ^ "Notre Dame says story about Te'o girlfriend dying apparently a hoax". The Washington Post. Associated Press. January 16, 2013. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  30. ^ Marchman, Tim (December 23, 2013). "Deadspin Buys Hall Of Fame Vote, Will Turn It Over To Deadspin Readers". Deadspin. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  31. ^ Ley, Tom (January 9, 2014). "The Angry Things Writers Are Saying About Our Hall Of Fame Ballot". Deadspin. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  32. ^ Scott, Nate (January 9, 2014). "BBWAA permanently strips Dan Le Batard of Hall-of-Fame vote". USA Today. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  33. ^ McFarland, Melanie (November 2, 2019). "How Fox's dismayed 'news' staff can learn from the Deadspin exodus". Salon. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  34. ^ Murray, Jon; Bartels, Lynn (October 15, 2014). "Main source disputes Deadspin story of Cory Gardner's football career". Denver Post. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  35. ^ Jacobson, William (October 16, 2014). "Thanks Deadspin!". Legal Insurrection. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  36. ^ Wemple, Erik (October 16, 2014). "Deadspin editor on Cory Gardner mess: 'What else can we do?'". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  37. ^ Bunch, Sonny (October 16, 2014). "Gawker Media's Concern for the State of Political Journalism Is Cute, Ironic". Washington Free Beacon. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  38. ^ Feinberg, Ashley (January 23, 2017). "Send Us Proof Of Ted Cruz Playing Basketball". Deadspin. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  39. ^ Bieler, Des (January 24, 2017). "Deadspin tells Ted Cruz to 'eat s—' after senator's Grayson Allen joke". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  40. ^ Andrews, Malika (January 25, 2017). "Ted Cruz wins Twitter feud with hysterical Grayson Allen joke tweet". Yahoo!. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  41. ^ "Ted Cruz is aware that he looks like Grayson Allen". Sports Illustrated. January 24, 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  42. ^ Brett T. (July 25, 2017). "And now, in sports news, Deadspin preparing victory lap in event of Sen. John McCain's death". Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  43. ^ "Sinclair Tells Stations to Air Media-Bashing Promos — and Criticism Goes Viral". KTLA. April 2, 2018. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  44. ^ Farhi, Paul (April 2, 2018). "As Sinclair's sound-alike anchors draw criticism for 'fake news' promos, Trump praises broadcaster". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286.

External links