If you are familiar with Gawker Media and it’s founder Nick Denton, this may not be news to you. But if not, Denton might strike you as the very DEVIL of the digital age. I don’t agree that more and more layers of privacy stripped away from citizens is “liberating” (it may be for some, but certainly not all, or I would guess even “most”) but I must admit that we’re all going to have to adjust to this new reality, because stopping it is utterly hopeless.
PLAYBOY: You’ve said the mission of Gawker is to publish the stories that journalists talk about with one another in private but never write.
DENTON: Yeah, the founding myth of Gawker happens to be true. I was a journalist at theFinancial Times. Whenever you work at a newspaper, particularly a newspaper with high standards, you’re struck by the gap between the story that appears in the paper the next day and what the journalist who wrote that story will tell you about it after deadline. The version they tell over a drink is much more interesting—legally riskier, sometimes more trivial, and sometimes it fits less neatly into the institution’s narrative. Usually it’s a lot truer. The very fact that a journalist will ask another journalist who has a story in the paper, “So what really happened?”—now, just think about that question. It’s a powerful question. It’s the essence of all meaningful gossip. That’s why this discussion system, Kinja, is so important. It actually allows us to fulfill our original objective, which is to treat everybody equally, to find interesting stories wherever they are, not just if a celebrity is involved. That’s not economical with paid journalists doing all the work. We need reader help. If we’re covering you, we need your colleagues to rat you out or your exes to put in bits and pieces. It has to be a collaborative effort.