A top editor at Deadspin has been dismissed amid a staff revolt against an edict directing the website to exclusively publish content related to sports
A top editor at Deadspin has been dismissed amid a staff revolt against an edict from upper management directing the website to exclusively publish content related to sports.
Deputy editor Barry Petchesky announced on Tuesday he was fired for not sticking to sports.
The action comes one day after a staff memo from Paul Maidment, the editorial director of Deadspins parent company, which said the immensely popular site will only write about sports and that which is relevant to sports in some way.
Where such subjects touch on sports, they are fair game for Deadspin, Maidment wrote. Where they do not, they are not. We have plenty of other sites that write about politics, pop culture, the arts and the rest, and they are the appropriate places for such work.
While Deadspin has traditionally focused on sports and sports media, the sites writers have also written about politics, food and pop culture on its subverticals including the Concourse and Adequate Man.
On Tuesday, Deadspin ran only non-sports stories with each article captioned stick to sports. That prompted the dismissal of Petchesky, who has served the Deadspins interim editor-in-chief since the August departure of Megan Greenwell, who left amid disagreements with management. Later in the day, a series of popular non-sports stories that had been promoted at the top of site had been replaced with ones focusing on sports. The local union said Deadspin staff had not been responsible for those changes.
Maidment addressed the uprising and Petcheskys dismissal in a statement on Tuesday.
Yesterday I sent a memo to Deadspin staff stating that our sports site should be focused on sports coverage, Maidment said. As I made clear in that note, sports touches on nearly every aspect of life from politics to business to pop culture and more. We believe that Deadspin reporters and editors should go after every conceivable story, as long as it has something to do with sports. We are sorry that some on the Deadspin staff dont agree with that editorial direction and refuse to work within that incredibly broad mandate.
The action was the latest in a series of escalating clashes between Deadspin and G/O Media.
G/O Media, which publishes Deadspin, Jezebel, Lifehacker, Kotaku and other former Gawker Media sites, was created earlier this year after Great Hill Partners, a private equity firm, purchased them from Univision, which had acquired them in a bankruptcy sale in 2016.
Petcheskys dismissal was followed on Tuesday by the departure of star investigative reporter Diana Moskovitz, who announced she had given her notice last week.
What happened today — and everything that preceded it — are among the reasons I decided to move on, Moskovitz tweeted.