Josh Jackson, the cofounder and editor-in-chief of Paste Magazine, is about to give the defunct feminist publication Jezebel a second life. Paste, known for its music and culture content, has bought Jezebel from its longtime owner G/O Media in an all-cash deal for an undisclosed amount, the New York Times reported today (Nov. 29).
G/O Media shut down Jezebel earlier this month (Nov. 9). CEO Jim Spanfeller said in a company memo G/O Media’s “business model and the audiences we serve across our network did not align with Jezebel’s.” He laid off the publication’s entire editorial staff of 23 employees. Prior to the shutdown, Jezebel had been owned by G/O Media for over 16 years.
404 Media, an independent tech news site, reported Jezebel’s editor-in-chief Lauren Tousignant was told ahead of the shutdown that advertisers did not want their ads placed next to Jezebel’s content, which included topics like abortion rights.
In that same deal Paste also bought Splinter, a political news site owned by G/O Media which ceased operation in 2019. Paste said it plans to relaunch the site next year.
Although Jezebel’s content seemed to cause issues for G/O Media’s ad sales, Jackson didn’t express any desire to change the site’s identity. “I want them to push the boundaries,” he told the New York Times. “I think there are advertisers out there who have the courage to go to where the audience is.”
Jackson has reportedly started reaching out to former Jezebel staff as he hires new teams for both publications.
Jackson has been the editor-in-chief of Atlanta-based Paste Magazine since he founded it in 2002 with media executives Nick Purdy and Tim Regan-Porter. The print publication went fully digital in 2010, following a failed fight to keep the print version afloat that included experiments such as a pay-what-you-want subscription offer and a donation model. Since then, Paste has been owned by the music company Wolfgang’s.
Jackson is the only cofounder remaining with the now digital version of Paste. Regan-Porter left the magazine in 2012 and currently runs the nonprofit Colorado Press Association as CEO. Purdy left in 2014 and now owns a craft brewery in Georgia.