If you blinked last week, you may have missed the five minutes during which Moe Tkacik of Jezebel worked for Radar Online. Balk welcomed her aboard on Monday night, then bid her farewell on Wednesday afternoon as she announced that she’d gotten a “rather attractive offer” to stick with Nick and write for Gawker. Tomorrow is Moe’s last day at Jezebel, but we’re going to focus on the fact that Nick Denton, possibly for the first time ever, made a writer an attractive offer that didn’t involve coming back to his SoHo loft.
Here we have the quintessential hard-hearted bastard of the blogosphere, him who treats New York’s creative underclass like a commodity product, who watched a half-dozen editors walk out the door with we-don’t-need-you-anyway smuggery. The man goes to sleep every night on a pile of pageviews surrounded by oiled cabana boys. Nick Motherfucking Denton decided that he couldn’t bear to lose Moe Tkacik.
Has the Grinch Who Stole New Media realized that bloggers will blog without AdWords, analytics or pay-per-pageview contracts, had his heart grow two sizes, and decide to start offering them a fairer share?
No offense to Moe, but I don’t remember reading about any negotiations for Balk, Emily, Doree, Choire, Josh, Megan McCarthy of Valleywag or Steve Spinelli of Jalopnik. The Gawker Media Editorial staff has been turnover central — are we beholding a new day in the life of Nick Denton?
Maybe someone clued him in that writers are the core of his brand, that they weren’t all created equal, and that his fortunes will rise and fall with the wit, charm and skill of his editorial staff. He has a lot riding on them — it’s worth his while to make it worth their while to stick around. Maybe he’s trying to make up for the misdeeds of his Gawker past and pave the way for a brighter Gawker future.
Or maybe not. Maybe this is personal, and he’s keeping Moe just to fuck with Balk and Radar. Maybe it’s working — Balk seems pissed. Maybe he’s sitting behind his desk rubbing his money-grubbing palms together and cackling at the thought of Alex Balk squirming in helpless under-staffedness. Maybe Denton really is nothing but an unfeeling traffic-whoring robot.
In any case, it’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out. I’m taking bets on how long Moe lasts at Gawker. Eight months? We figure it’ll be less than a year, but long enough to give it the ol’ college try.
As a side bet, who else can Balk court to fill the position at Radar? This here internet is looking pretty small and incestuous these days — we’re running out of disillusioned ex-Denton cewebrities who haven’t already tried for an ascendance post-Gawker or landed cushy jobs in Print Media.
Richard? I think you’re up.