Wednesday, November 06, 2019

The End of Deadspin

If you follow sports or the internet, you’re probably already aware of the situation that occurred last week at the website Deadspin. The short story is that new ownership of Deadspin directed the writers and editors to “stick to sports” even though the website’s most-popular articles were sports-adjacent and sometimes not about sports at all. As a result, everyone, or at least nearly everyone, resigned. (The longer version of this story is available on "The Washington Post" here and here and on "NPR".)

I just want to share my own personal experience with Deadspin. The blog/website debuted not long after Sean’s Ramblings started, and I read the site everyday for years. Some of the language on Deadspin could be R-rated, but I was able to check out stories by reading them on Google Reader. (I miss Google Reader.) The content was generally light and made fun of so many things that some people take so seriously in sports. Yet, powerful and insightful posts regularly appeared on the site. I would definitely say that Deadspin influenced my writing, particularly in my posts about sports. Most of my sports posts don’t discuss strategy or analysis and instead focus on lighter topics such as fun with names or commercials featuring athletes or even Pittsburgh athletes with other athletes and celebrities. I was also honored to have Deadspin link to several of my posts in its early days.

While I used to check out Deadspin multiple times per day, my visits to the site lessened over the years. Still, I continued to read as many Drew Magary posts as I could, and I learned about many stories/articles from friends sharing them on Twitter.

It seems that Deadspin is going to live on in the short term, but I can't see it being viable going forward. Replacing an entire writing staff and culture is going to be difficult at best. Plus, the core readers (and probably advertisers) are gone and aren't coming back.

My hope is that the writers and editors of Deadspin are able to create its own site. Perhaps they can add some of the writers from the late Kissing Suzy Kolber too. The writing and posts by these individuals are too good not to be shared and seen by a large audience.

Update: There's a Deadspin freelance account @UnDeadspin, which features the work for the now former Deadspin staff.

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