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Oct 2, 2008

Gawker Media to lay off 14 percent of editorial staff

Gawker Media to lay off 14 percent of editorial staff

"With the savings, we are increasing base pay and hiring 10 new people on the most commercially successful Gawker sites," Denton wrote in the e-mail. "But I know that's scant consolation for the colleagues we're losing and for those of you who have been enjoying the bonus windfalls from breakout stories."

The bonus system at Gawker, a network of snarky and witty gossip- and culture-focused blogs that Denton founded in 2002, has provoked controversy and banter throughout the new-media world: the company pays most writers at a base rate but then adds a bonus for every thousand page views a single post pulls in. The bonuses will continue to the end of 2008, but have been suspended for the first quarter of 2009 at the least.

Equally controversial has been some of the blogs' own content, which countless pundits have criticized for being puerile, mean, and occasionally invasive. But in New York, where Gawker Media has been arguably the most successful new-media start-up story of the past decade, the layoffs can only be described as unfortunate and sad: its writers and business staff are valued members of the blogging community and Gawker Media's downtown offices have become a popular hangout and party space...

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