|Type of site||Blog|
|Created by||Nick Denton (Managing Editor)
Alex Pareene/Richard Lawson/
Sheila McClear/Hamilton Nolan/
Ryan Tate (Bloggers)
Founded in 2002, Gawker is the flagship blog for Nick Denton's Gawker Media. Gawker has created other blogs, including Wonkette, covering Washington, D.C., Defamer, covering Los Angeles, and Valleywag covering Silicon Valley. Since folding those other blogs into Gawker.com itself, the site now uses the slogan "Gossip from Manhattan and the Beltway to Hollywood and the Valley."
Gawker was originally edited by Elizabeth Spiers, then by Choire Sicha, from August 2003 to August 2004. When Sicha became editorial director of Gawker Media in August, 2004, Jessica Coen was hired to be the site editor. The editor position was split between two co-editors in 2005, and Coen was joined by guest editors from a variety of New York City-based blogs; Matt Haber was engaged as co-editor for several months, then Jesse Oxfeld joined for longer. In July, 2006, Oxfeld's contract was not renewed, and Alex Balk was installed, while Chris Mohney, formerly of Gridskipper, Gawker Media's travel blog, was hired to become the managing editor, a newly created position.
On September 28, 2006, Coen announced in a post on Gawker that she would be leaving the site to become deputy online editor at Vanity Fair. Balk then shared the site with co-editor Emily Gould. Associate editor Maggie Shnayerson also began writing for the site; she replaced Doree Shafrir, who left in September 2007 for The New York Observer.
In February 2007, Sicha returned from his position at The New York Observer, and replaced Mohney as the Managing Editor.
On September 21, 2007, Gawker announced that Balk would depart to edit Radar magazine's website, he will be replaced by Wonkette's Alex Pareene.
The literary journal n+1 had published a long piece on the history and future of Gawker, which concluded: "You could say that as Gawker Media grew, from Gawker’s success, Gawker outlived the conditions for its existence."
In 2008, weekend editor Ian Spiegelman quit Gawker over an unspecified salary dispute. He later left a comment on the site denouncing what he said was its practice of hiring full-time employees as independent contractors in order to avoid paying taxes and benefits.
On October 3, 2008 it was announced 19 staff members were being laid-off in response to expected economic hardships in the coming months. Most came from sites with low traffic, with Fleshbot their adult site receiving the brunt of the layoffs. Many staff members have also voluntarily quit in protest as well.
On November 12, 2008 it was announced that further changes were to take place in response to economic hardships with the selling of popular site Consumerist (blog) and the folding of Valleywag with Managing Editor Owen Thomas being demoted to a columnist on Gawker and the rest of the staff being laid off. Accusations have since been made by members and staff writers that owner Nick Denton is looking to sell out all of the Gawker sites while they are still profitable.
In December of 2009, Nick Denton was nominated for "Media Entrepreneur of the Decade" by Adweek Magazine and Gawker was named "Blog of the Decade" by the advertising trade. Brian Morrissey of Adweek said "Gawker remains the epitome of blogging: provocative, brash and wildly entertaining."
Gawker usually publishes more than 50 posts daily during the week, sometimes reaching 70 posts a day, with limited publishing on the weekends. The site also publishes content from its sister sites. Gawker's content consists of celebrity and media industry gossip, critiques of mainstream news outlets and New York-centric stories. The stories generally come from anonymous tips from media employees, found mistakes and faux pas in news stories caught by readers and other blogs, and original reporting.
On July 3, 2006, when publisher Nick Denton replaced Jesse Oxfeld with Alex Balk, Oxfeld claimed it was an attempt to make the blog more mainstream and less media-focused, ending a tradition of heavy media coverage at Gawker.
On March 14, 2006, Gawker.com launched Gawker Stalker Maps, a mashup of the site's Gawker Stalker feature and Google Maps. Gawker Stalker, originally a weekly roundup of celebrity sightings in New York City submitted by Gawker readers, first posted on April 21, 2003, is now frequently updated, and the sightings are displayed on a map.
The feature has drawn criticism from celebrities and publicists for encouraging stalking, and George Clooney rep Stan Rosenfeld called Gawker Stalker "a dangerous thing." Jessica Coen has said that the map is harmless, that Gawker readers are "for the most part, a very educated, well-meaning bunch," and that "if there is someone really intending to do a celebrity harm, there are much better ways to go about doing that than looking at the Gawker Stalker."
Gawker's coverage of benefit cuts announced December 4, 2007 for freelancers working at media company Viacom has been acknowledged as playing a major role in reinstating many of the workers' rights. After Viacom "permalancers" took to the streets for several days to protest the cuts, Gawker reported on December 12, 2007 that the company had reversed its position. On January 31, 2008, Gawker's Maggie Shnayerson reported that Viacom subsidiary MTV Networks would convert 1,000 freelance jobs to full-time positions.
On January 15, 2008, Gawker mirrored the Scientology video featuring Tom Cruise from the recently removed posting on YouTube. They soon posted a copyright infringement notice written by lawyers for Scientology. As of January 3, 2009, the video has not been removed and a lawsuit has not been filed.
On September 17, 2008, in reporting that pranksters associated with the message board 4Chan had hacked the personal email account of Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Gawker published screenshots of the emails, photos, and address list obtained by the hackers. While accessing personal email accounts without authorization constitutes a federal crime, current DOJ interpretation of this statute following the decision in Theofel v. Farey-Jones is that perpetrators may only be prosecuted for reading 'unopened' emails. FBI Spokesman Eric Gonzalez in Anchorage, Alaska confirms that an investigation is underway.
On July 17, 2009 Gawker owned sports blog Deadspin reported that ESPN lawyers sent a letter to a website owner who was hosting videos of a woman who looked like journalist Erin Andrews. After that story broke, Andrews' attorney confirmed it was her featured in the peephole video. 
On August 17, 2009, Gawker obtained and posted an exclusive video of actor Eric Dane and his wife Rebecca Gayheart in a sexual threesome with beauty-queen and former Miss Teen USA Kari Ann Peniche.