Nick Denton knows how to make viewers stop and stare with his blog-based media company, Gawker, founded in 2002 and initially produced from his Soho apartment. Mr. Denton pioneered a new kind of media—brash, gabby, fearless and snarky. With his eight blogs—covering women, tech, automobiles, sports and science, among other topics—Mr. Denton has carved out a web mini-empire.
With that said, you might be surprised to know that Mr. Denton’s got quite a traditional background in journalism: he was educated at Oxford and was a reporter at the Financial Times. No matter, as now Gawker Media attracts the best and brightest in journalism, seemingly assured that a résumé line from Gawker will jump-start an illustrious reporting career. But Mr. Denton’s ruthless digital strategy is not without controversy, such as his previous attempts at a Gawker Stalker feature with Google Maps, his proclivity for publishing celebrity sex tapes and his insistence on giving credence to commenters—the man behind the brand is just as notorious as his content. But when he wins, he wins big—his Deadspin blog broke the news of Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend, and photos forced the “Craigslist Congressman” to resign.
There’s no doubt Mr. Denton is redefining success in media. Is it the holy double grail of harnessing web traffic and upholding journalistic credibility? Or is it something entirely different that only Gawker knows about and will reveal within the famously watched Gawker internal staff memos? Regardless, he’s a gatekeeper of the space where web and journalism meet.