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Posts Tagged ‘Nick Denton’

Want to Get Hired Unconventionally? Try Commenting Your Way Into a Gig

Okay, maybe you’ve tried everything to get hired like cold calling a hiring manager, tweeting your prospective employer and snail mailing your resume. When it comes to thinking outside the box, have you considered commenting on a site?

As per a post on paidContent, the new weekend editor at Gawker Media’s auto-focused site Jalopnik got hired because he was a regular commenter. Simply stated, Mike Ballaban apparently got his new job for being an active participant and engaging with the site. Read more

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What’s A Gawker Bounty Worth?

How does Gawker decide how much to pay for commissioned stories or gossip?

It’s pretty simple. A penny per new visitor, Business Insider reports. They got their hands on a memo Nick Denton sent out explaining to his editors how much they should pay for information.

So if you’ve got a juicy tip, expect to net $5,000 if it will bring in half a million new visitors. We (and BI) aren’t clear whether “new” means “entirely new to Gawker” or “wouldn’t have clicked on a Gawker item if not for this specific story.” Either way, you’d better have good gossip if you want the cash.

Balloon Boy And Checkbook Journalism: Is It All Bad?

King-of-the-blogosphere Nick Denton paid a 25-year-old student an undisclosed sum for his story about unwittingly helping father Richard Heene plan the hoax, which involved pretending that 6-year-old Falcon Heene was trapped inside a shiny, UFO-shaped balloon. How much did the student receive? “Much less” than $5,000-$8,000, which is what Robert Thomas was originally asking, but this isn’t the first time Denton’s opened his wallet.

In August the Gawker owner paid for the “McSteamy” video and he told MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka that he paid $10,000 for Jezebel’s “nominate the worst example of magazine cover Photoshoppery” contest in ’07. “Not really a new thing,” he added. “A story is a story. We’re not squeamish about the means.”

Kafka asks: “Does paying for this stuff make sense?…If you want, you can check out Gawker’s rate card, make some assumptions, and conclude that Denton can’t afford to pay his story-sellers that much and still end up in the black, even at one million page views. And I’m reasonably confident that Denton is very interested in measuring profitability and has worked out an equation that pays his story-sellers in proportion to traffic, but without breaking his bank.”

We wonder: is this really all that new?

When we were a wee freelancer we were told that three things sell stories: either you’re a talented writer/you have an interesting voice/you have something interesting to say; you have information that nobody else has; or you have access to someone or something that nobody else has.

We’re not surprised that Denton is willing to pay tipsters who have access or knowledge, even if they’re not “traditional” writers or journalists.

When the lines get crossed and it looks more like Gawker is paying sources rather than contributors is where things get tricky. Where’s that line? You tell us.

Blogosphere Moves: Owen Thomas Leaves Valleywag ; Ryan Tate Promoted

Owen ThomasTech gossip journalist Owen Thomas announced over the weekend that he was leaving Gawker Media‘s tech column Valleywag for an NBC-owned startup news site about the Bay Area.

Thomas supposedly has a “penchant for management,” according to Gawker owner Nick Denton, which the gossip writer didn’t get to exercise after Denton rolled Valleywag’s content into and fired all five writers late last year. At his new gig,, which is still in beta, he’ll be the managing editor, which should provide the responsibility he craves.

Ryan Tate, Valleywag’s night editor, has been promoted to fill Thomas’s spot, and Gawker’s now looking for a night editor to replace Tate.

Go Online, Young Journalist!

While no one can come to an honest conclusion about the life or death of print journalism&#151earnings for the New York Times plummeted 48 percent, but profits for the Financial Times rose 15 percent&#151there is one media industry that does not seem to be suffering.

It’s hard to debate the relevance of online media today. Last month Gawker drew 297 million pageviews&#151up 34 percent from last February’s traffic numbers. “We don’t have a single weak site,” crowed publisher Nick Denton. “And I’m not even going to tell you how much our ad revenues were up in February.”

This might lead one to believe that the safest place to be in media right now is online. Yet last fall Gawker laid off 14 percent of its editorial staff&#151supposedly in anticipation of an “exceptionally difficult” 2009. So even if ad revenues are up and traffic is not just holding steady, but growing, media jobs are still not secure.