Former New York Times Hollywood reporter Sharon Waxman has a post on her WaxWord blog about last week’s lay offs at Gawker Media. After worrying a bit about how the company’s pay-for-pageview system encourages bloggers to “reach deeper into the gutter” for traffic, Ms. Waxman offers this tantalizing short history of the internet mixed with some Faith Popcorn-esque future forecasting:
The online world is changing and evolving, and quality is the next big thing. When the internet superhighway first debuted, it was pornography that drew all the eyeballs and clicks. The next wave was the independent bloggers—the likes of Wonkette, and Gawker and Defamer. As those got bought up by bigger companies, or grew into bigger companies, we’ve been flooded with attitude. Aggregation, and attitude. What about some well-reported facts, surrounded by intelligent analysis, in a timely manner? That’s what we’re hungry for.
Whether those “well-reported facts” and “intelligent analysis” bring those “eyeballs (not to mention those “clicks”) on the “internet superhighway” remains to be seen. Clearly Ms. Waxman is hinting at her next endeavor, The Wrap News, which a downloadable PDF press release (very next, next) describes as “a news and information network covering the entertainment and media industries available on multiple platforms.” (Yes, but is it agnostic?)
Ms. Waxman also seems to suggest that one reason she left The New York Times was that bloggers—in particular, Gawker—were too mean to her:
Denton is ripe for mocking, and he knows it. ‘I could come up with some bullshit line about how much worse it would have been to wait until we were forced to control costs; or how much more unpleasant life will be at the many internet ventures and newspapers that won’t make it through the downturn,’ he writes. He then does this adorable pirouette to head off the expected snarkback: ‘Gawker Media is behaving like those big media companies that we mock so easily.’ (Used to? Does this mean they will no longer mock and smear and malign journalists at big media companies? Too late. Had I known, I might have stayed at The New York Times.)