Deadspin’s new management has a new, strict rule for their employees: Stick to sports.
The media company is primarily focused on reporting on sports, but will occasionally venture into the world of culture, politics, and the like. But when journalists at the outlet were told to cut out all topics not related to sports, there was a mass exodus.
A leaked memo details G/O Media editorial director Paul Maidment’s decision to focus on game-related coverage only.
“To create as much great sports journalism as we can requires a 100% focus of our resources on sports. And it will be the sole focus. Deadspin will write only about sports and that which is relevant to sports in some way.”
To clarify, G/O oversees Deadspin, Jezebel, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, and a number of former Gawker-owned websites. Maidment stated while their other media sites will be able to cover other issues, Deadspin itself is going to be primarily a sports news site.
“Where such subjects touch on sports, they are fair game for Deadspin,” Maidment said. “Where they do not, they are not. We have plenty of other sites that write about politics, pop culture, the arts, and the rest, and they’re the appropriate place for such work.”
This caused a mutiny among the employees of the site who quit in droves, saying that the new rule would stifle their “editorial independence.”
A statement about the resignations at Deadspin. pic.twitter.com/NrUmtHzZbq
— GMG Union (@gmgunion) October 30, 2019
“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 it is not what editorial independence looks like,” reads a statement from the GMG Union Twitter account.
“‘Stick to sports’ is and always has been a thinly veiled euphemism for ‘don’t speak truth to power.’ In addition to being bad business,” the statement continues. “Spanfeller’s actions are morally reprehensible. the GMG Union stands with our current and former Deadspin colleagues and condemns Jim Spanfeller in the strongest possible terms.”
Former staffers for Deadspin have taken to Twitter to announce their resignations:
Just now I resigned my position at Deadspin today along with many of my colleagues. I have been here only five months but they have been some of the best of my career and I will miss it deeply.
— kelsey mckinney (@mckinneykelsey) October 30, 2019
I quit today too https://t.co/W7meIcW0Cx
— Laura Wagner (@laurawags) October 30, 2019
I kept thinking there would be a “good time” to announce this, but that “good time” never came. So here goes: Last week, I gave my two-weeks notice at Deadspin.
— Diana Moskovitz (@DianaMoskovitz) October 29, 2019
It is being reported that following the memo, staffers began loading the site with non-sports stories. This digital rebellion allegedly led to the firing of Barry Petchesky, which he happily announced on Twitter.
Hi! I’ve just been fired from Deadspin for not sticking to sports.
— Barry Petchesky (@barry) October 29, 2019
But not everyone feels bad for those who have quit. Many Twitter users wonder why they didn’t just do the job they were hired to do.
The writers were hired to write about sports, if they don’t want to do the job they were hired to do, it’s good they quit.
— Jack Furnari (@JackBPR) October 31, 2019
You were fired for not doing your job. Sounds about right.
— Z (@TheZyniker) October 29, 2019
They did warn you tho
— Ingenuous Firebrand (@INGFirebrand) October 29, 2019
“I’ve been fired for not doing my job”. This is a crazy concept.
— zeep zorp (@ZorpZeep) October 29, 2019
Exactly. People acting like they can just go to work and do whatever they want lmao
— Ryan Alexander (@RyanPA17) October 29, 2019
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