After Gawker Traffic Dips, Employees Told to Work Harder, Faster (Report)
"What I care about is ensuring that this organization wakes up every morning with the intention of doing some f—ing damage on the internet."
Gawker Media acting executive editor John Cook has the solution for the site's "flat" traffic — reporters need to get their act together.
In a Wednesday internal memo from Cook obtained by Politico, Cook told his staff that he is not looking for "Facebook viral garbage," but wants thoughtful pieces — chop chop.
"What I care about is ensuring that this organization wakes up every morning with the intention of doing some f—ing damage on the internet," Cook said in the memo. "That you continue to move faster than your competitors. That you think more clearly and ambitiously. And that you fill the spaces between those setpiece posts with live, crackling, blogging."
Reporters' efforts have become lackadaisical, and it is showing in the traffic dip, Cook said.
"And right now I’m seeing too many first posts of the day going up at 9:40 a.m., too many posts with takes on stories that other sites addressed the day before, too many two-hour posts taking six-hours to write, too many posts that betray no attempt to add new information, research, reporting, or ideas to the topics they address. And too many people showing up in [the internal chat room] at 11:00 a.m.," Cook said.
In January, CEO Nick Denton said quality work would drive traffic to the site, adding that Gawker "can never play the viral traffic game as shamelessly as Buzzfeed."
At that time, traffic was holding, according to Denton, but following a record-breaking day in August with a piece on Josh Duggar’s Ashley Madison account, "our network traffic is more wobbly than I would like," Cook said.
Cook told employees to take pride in Gawker's quality-over-viral mission statement, but to also see "a blinking yellow light, an indicator that we all need to work harder."
Cook was named acting executive editor after his predecessor Tommy Craggs and editor-in-chief Max Read left the business in July following a decision to take down a controversial post that Denton called "pure poison to our reputation."
Cook didn't immediately return a request for comment.