Today I received an email from someone at lit journal n+1 with a link to its just-published Gawker critique by Carla Blumenkranz. The subject line of the email was "The n+1 article that helped convince Choire and Emily to quit," which sounded off to me because, as I understood it, the combination of unforgiving hours, a "soul-killing" editorial focus on saying "the meanest [or] most shocking thing possible" and the new pay structure rewarding page views over output and/or quality — plus the fact that they'd both been at it for about a year straight — were the factors convincing Gawker managing editor Choire Sicha and editor Emily Gould to quit. Also, I was pretty sure that Sicha and Gould didn't need the help of n+1 to figure out a major life decision. It was just sort of a feeling I had.
But! n+1 had made that claim, and was spreading it. So I asked Sicha and Gould if it was true. Here are their responses, delivered tartly via email:
Choire: "That's ridiculous--I'd quit more than week before it came out."
Emily: "Yeah, that's some major point-missery on their part."
So — you heard it here first: Emily Gould and Choire Sicha did NOT quit Gawker because of today's n+1 piece. That said, it's a good, thorough analysis of the gestation of the site, with the critical history that Vanessa Grigoriardis ignored in her New York piece (i.e. like the entire tenure of Jessica Coen, Gawker's longest-serving editor, under whom the site's more biting tone took root). Sicha and Gould don't deny that the n+1 article hits the bullseye — and you didn't hear that here first, you heard it first on Gawker, in the post that kicked the departing-editor drama off. It was a post that, presumably, the n+1 had read, since it was largely about them. In it Gould says she "didn't really think [Blumenkrantz] was wrong about anything." It ended with Sicha telling n+1 co-editor Keith Gessen that yes, he and Emily were, in fact, quitting Gawker. Gessen asked if it was about the article. Said Sicha: "Sort of. Well, not because it was written. But because it's not untrue."
Gawker: 2002 - 2007 [n+1]
A Long, Dark Early Evening Of The Soul With Keith Gessen [Gawker]
Photos by Rachel Sklar (Sicha) and Nikola Tamindzic (Gould) further lifted from NYMag's Daily Intel, who conveniently combined them. God love the blogosphere!