Gawker to Change Focus to Politics; Layoffs in Progress

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Gawker's Defamer, among several of its other blogs, will be closing down.

Gawker Media announced it is overhauling the company's focus, with major shifts affecting as well as outright closures affecting Defamer and other Gawker-branded blogs. will now focus on politics, according to the announcement. In an internal memo to staff obtained by The New York Times, Nick Denton said the site “will ride the circus of the 2016 campaign cycle, seizing the opportunity to reorient its editorial scope on political news, commentary and satire.”

Gawker Media will also close Hollywood site Defamer. Amid the changes, the NYT reports seven people will be laid off but six jobs will simultaneously be created at the company.

The Awl published a memo executive editor John Cook sent out to staff. "Pursuant to Gawker’s new focus, Defamer, Morning After, and Valleywag will be permanently shuttered, clearing the path for Jezebel to become the primary voice for celebrity and pop culture coverage in the network," Cook wrote.

Cook spoke of editor-in chief Alex Pareene's new leadership at "Never before has a political season promised to be so ripe for the kind of punishing satire and absurdist wit that Alex has perfected over his career." 

The Gawker news comes just days after a former staff writer posted a story on Medium accusing the company of treating female employees unfairly. This past July, the company was widely criticized for publishing a story about the Conde Nast CFO's alleged solicitation of a gay escort. Denton pulled the story down and said he regretted his decision to publish it.