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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Gawker: To Report News or to Entertain With It?

When I found out about Gawker Media filing for bankruptcy, I was scared that that would be the end of io9.com which Gawker owns. But that won’t necessarily be the case. That is if whoever buys Gawker Media, which so far is Ziff Davis, mother company of PC Mag and other tech websites, decides to keep io9. I’d like to believe io9’s sister company’s, Gizmodo’s, declaration that io9 and itself aren’t going anywhere. But that could be wishful thinking on their part. Hopefully it’s self-determined faith or confidence instead. Much of what I’ve read at io9 is reliable journalism. However, while Gawker Media claims to produce authentic journalism, one of its other outlets, Gawker.com, specialises in gossip news. So it shouldn’t expect to be taken seriously. Specialising in gossip cannot only endanger celebrities’ reputations but also the jobs of the media company’s employees.

Gawker.com admits that it specializes in gossip media. Gossip is pretty much what got not only it but all of Gawker Media into trouble. Besides exposing celebrities’ private lives, media gossip often turns into rumours which eventually turn into lies. Yes, the people have a right to know but only that which effects society. Hulk Hogan’s affair with his friend’s wife had nothing to do with the rest of society; it had to do with him and those two friends. So Gawker.com was asking for trouble when one of its reporters exposed the tapes of the affair without Hogan’s permission.

But gossip news groups are like that. They are more about getting the audience’s attention to make money, make fun of others or both than they are about reporting necessary news. They sell to the uninformed of society by basically making people’s personal lives, especially celebrities’, into the entertainment that readers seek in the work of media artists--such as actors, directors, and authors--and athletes. Journalism is supposed to report on what impacts society rather than entertain. A celebrity retiring from their work will effect society as far as audience and fan-following go; what that celebrity is doing in the privacy of their own home with family or friends won’t impact society.

If Gawker Media survives the lawsuits that have been threating it, let’s hope the company will be a little wiser from now on. Hopefully it has learned that gossip can go too far when it gets into the private lives of celebrities. Perhaps it already has. According to the editors, in response to Peter Thiel’s threat of suit, “Gawker Media has not put a lot of effort, over the years, into being likable. We have earned a long list of enemies.” I can’t say whether or not Thiel is justified in his action against Gawker Media, but I can say that perhaps the company will from now on limit its outlets’ reporting to what impacts society. And leave the entertainment to the celebrities being covered.

Next time . . . 

I'll have updates on my projects, including my cover illustration for "Circa Sixty Years Dead" which I'm still working on.

Until then . . .


A wide-opened mouth.
Credit: Pixabay.com

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