Look Who’s Gawking

We’re flattered by all the attention fromour friends at Gawker. But perhaps they should spend a little less time obsessing over Radar and more time minding the store. Last month Sploid,the “anarcho-capitalist” news site that Nick Denton vowed would take on theDrudge Report, debuted with a resounding thud. Now Denton’slongtime lieutenant, Choire Sicha, who oversaw the site, is fleeing to theNew York Observer. Sources say Sicha has just accepted an offer to editthe peach-hued weekly’s Transom column, Manhattan’s preeminentchronicle of the drunk and wealthy. His departure promisesto be a big blow to the penny-pinching Denton, who has always had troubleholding on to talent.

Sicha, 33, took over the editorship of Gawker after founding editor Elizabeth Spiers escaped to NewYork in 2003. Two years later he was promoted to editorial director of theGawker Media group, a role he’s since relinquished to the former managingeditor of something called Hamptons Cottages and Gardens. Chasing hisprevious success with Gawker, Defamer, and Fleshbot, Denton has spent the last year launching a series of increasingly ill-conceived(and ridiculously named) flops, including Kinja, Screenhead, Kotaku, and Gridskipper. Wonkette, which drew hugetraffic and attention during last year’s election with a mixture ofnihilism and anal sex jokes, has seen its traffic drop dramatically since it wasmore or less abandoned by editor–turned–talking head Ana MarieCox. Denton’s big dream is to assemble 17 titles underthe Gawker Media umbrella, “just as Si Newhouse has at CondéNast.” But success may be a little more elusive without Sicha, who is viewed by many as the real creative force behind the company. Meanwhile, Gawker, which is currently helmed by a revolvingroster of underemployed freelancers, is this week being anonymously co-edited byan actual journalist, Newsweek staffer MichaelHastings, who’s planning to write a piece about the experience.Drop him a line and tell him how he’s doing:michael.hastings@newsweek.com.

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