Deadspin in tailspin: Writers quitting en masse following ‘stick to sports’ memo

Deadspin’s new management has a new, strict rule for their employees: Stick to sports.

The media company is primarily focused on reporting on sports, but will occasionally venture into the world of culture, politics, and the like. But when journalists at the outlet were told to cut out all topics not related to sports, there was a mass exodus.

A leaked memo details G/O Media editorial director Paul Maidment’s decision to focus on game-related coverage only.

“To create as much great sports journalism as we can requires a 100% focus of our resources on sports. And it will be the sole focus. Deadspin will write only about sports and that which is relevant to sports in some way.”

To clarify, G/O oversees Deadspin, Jezebel, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, and a number of former Gawker-owned websites. Maidment stated while their other media sites will be able to cover other issues, Deadspin itself is going to be primarily a sports news site.

“Where such subjects touch on sports, they are fair game for Deadspin,” Maidment said. “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’re the appropriate place for such work.”

This caused a mutiny among the employees of the site who quit in droves, saying that the new rule would stifle their “editorial independence.”

“Today, a number of our colleagues at Deadspin resigned from their positions. From the outset, CEO Jim Spanfeller has worked to undermine a successful site by curtailing its most well-read coverage because it makes him personally uncomfortable. This is not what journalism looks like and it is not what editorial independence looks like,” reads a statement from the GMG Union Twitter account.

“‘Stick to sports’ is and always has been a thinly veiled euphemism for ‘don’t speak truth to power.’ In addition to being bad business,” the statement continues. “Spanfeller’s actions are morally reprehensible. the GMG Union stands with our current and former Deadspin colleagues and condemns Jim Spanfeller in the strongest possible terms.”

Former staffers for Deadspin have taken to Twitter to announce their resignations:

It is being reported that following the memo, staffers began loading the site with non-sports stories. This digital rebellion allegedly led to the firing of Barry Petchesky, which he happily announced on Twitter.

But not everyone feels bad for those who have quit. Many Twitter users wonder why they didn’t just do the job they were hired to do.


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