Yes We Can: Wonkette Goes Solo
So, anything happening in the media news today? Wait, WHAT? Yes it's true: Wonkette is bravely leaving the Gawker Media nest, along with Gawker's music and travel sites. Why on Earth is a beloved publication such as Wonkette taking this plunge -- during the biggest, nuttiest presidential election in 48 years -- and are we being pushed? Six million page views in March, a million monthly unique visitors who are "somewhat male, more affluent [and] more educated" and who "read Gawker and subscribe to Vanity Fair" .... Why does Corporate America hate the "somewhat male" demographic? The answers may shock you!
Way back in 2004, Nick Denton launched his third blog, Wonkette, with original editor Ana Marie Cox. Several editors later, your current editor person arrived, in 2006. Also, Iraq. And John Kerry, can't forget him (although we try). Oh, and Mark Foley, Larry Craig, this guy, mistress-stranglin' Don Sherwood, so many pedophiles and crooks and sociopaths. Also, Santorum:
What will change? Well, no more ordering hookers and blow off Gizmodo's profits, for one thing. Otherwise, your Wonkette will remain your Wonkette. Your Jim Newell and your Sara K. Smith are here! We will have as much of your Josh Fruhlinger and Peter Huestis and Liz Glover as we can possibly afford! We will add some stuff! We will host Washington parties! And of course we'll be covering the terrible DNC and RNC conventions, live, drunk.
Here is what our founding publisher Nick says in an "internal email" that Calderone's already posted on the Politico:
There were indeed some rumors about Maura Johnston's music blog late last year; they were true of course. For reasons that I'll explain below, both it and our travel and politics sites have better commercial futures outside Gawker than within. (Excuse the corporate lingo: some of it is unavoidable.) But, first, the facts, which will be hitting the wires later this morning, or as soon as you leak this email. Go ahead!So there you go.
* IDOLATOR is going to Buzznet, a music-focused web and social
network. Buzznet recently acquired Idolator's chief rival, Stereogum, and received a big investment from Universal Music Group.
* GRIDSKIPPER isn't going far: it's being taken over by Curbed, the
network founded by Lockhart Steele, in which Gawker Media is a shareholder.
* WONKETTE is being spun off to the managing editor, Ken Layne, former founder of one of the web's very first news sites, Tabloid.net. The title will become part of the Blogads network of political sites, which includes Daily Kos, among others.
Why these three sites? To be blunt: they each had their editorial
successes; but someone else will have better luck selling the advertising than we did.
Music audiences are fragmented across genres; Maura's Idolator gave Stereogum a good run, but a group with a whole array of music sites will command more attention from record labels than we could. In the
case of Gridskipper, our urban travel guide, we could never match Curbed in attention to city-specific content and advertising. As for Wonkette: political advertisers are a strange breed; they don't come
through the same agencies our sales people deal with ....
And Wonkette is one of the brands with which the company is most associated; people will be shocked that we would ever part with it. The political site has won an array of Bloggies and other awards; it introduced the word ass-fucking into the dictionary of political abuse; the founding editor's slippers are even on display in the new media museum in Washington, DC. And Ken and his team have brought a new liveliness to the site this election season--validated by the record traffic of the last three months.
So why not wait, at least till the election? Well, since the end of last year, we've been expecting a downturn. Scratch that: since the
middle of 2006, when we sold off Screenhead, shuttered Sploid and declared we were "hunkering down", we've been waiting for the internet bubble to burst. No, really, this time. And, even if not, better safe
than sorry; and better too early than too late ....
Tell us what you want in your New Wonkette, in the comments!