Carrots, Sticks, Journalism and Nick Denton

Writers at NYC’s Gawker Media get paid bonuses for the volume of traffic and page views their stories generate, according to bitter and jaded hacks getting drunk in one of the dives on Fifty-second Street uncertain and afraid as the clever hopes expire etc an inside source.

In a profile of Gawker boss Nick Denton, a “born mischief-maker who has made a fortune out of gossip”, by the Guardian’s James Silver, a Gawker underling reveals:

We got quarterly bonuses based on traffic which results in this all-day obsessive monitoring of traffic. As long as page views stay high, advertising rates stay high, which is all that matters to the company. We are paid to get traffic and that dictates what stories you do.

From the lofty heights of Gawker Towers, former FT journalist Denton, pecking at a laptop, monitoring traffic on his sites, says he’s “distrustful” of dotcoms set up just to make money:

You obviously have to make money otherwise it’s no fun, but those kinds of projects lack internal energy or a driving-force.

The driving-force behind Gawker Media? Denton says it’s publishing the kind of stories not getting published in old media newspapers, publishing what journalists tell each other after deadline, over a drink or three.