The news site Gawker.com will shut down next week, just days after its parent company was purchased by Univision.
Gawker.com will not continue to operate under its new owners, bringing a sudden and sad ending to one of the most controversial and contentious digital media websites of modern times.
The news was announced, in typical fashion, by Gawker journalist J.K. Trotter:
“After nearly fourteen years of operation, Gawker.com will be shutting down next week. The decision to close Gawker comes days after Univision successfully bid $135 million for Gawker Media’s six other websites, and four months after the Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel revealed his clandestine legal campaign against the company.”
Gawker.com will stay online and the site’s archives will stay, but no new stories will be published. Staff will be offered positions at the company’s other ventures should they wish.
Gawker has often been at the forefront of releasing and investigating controversial news stories, and sadly, but somewhat fittingly, it was just such an irreverent ‘public interest’ story that proved to be their undoing.
In July a $140 million judgement was found against the company, CEO co-founder Nick Denton and former editor A.J. Daulerio. A Florida jury decided Gawker had violated the privacy of wrestler Hulk Hogan for posting a clip of his sex tape.
Denton informed the staff of Gawker hours before the news of the website’s closure was published saying:
“We have not been able to find a single media company or investor willing also to take on Gawker.com. The campaign being mounted against its editorial ethos and former writers has made it too risky. I can understand the caution.”
Gawker.com was founded 14 years ago and quickly built a reputation for a no-holds-bar approach to reporting, including breaking gossip stories on high-powered celebrities and business leaders.
The company that has bought Gawker.com is Univision, most commonly known in the US as the country’s biggest Spanish-language media company. It also owns a 40% stake in the satirical website The Onion.