01.28.13

A (Revisionist) HIstory Of Deadspin : HIgh Minded Leitch Was “Never About The Traffic”

Posted in Blogged Down, Sports Journalism, Will Leitch Sucks at 11:13 pm by

Deadspin celebrates its 8th anniversary later this year, an occasion that caused Adweek’s Charlie Warzel to collect memories from the site’s editors and publisher about their major journalistic achievements in the pre-Manti T’eo era.   Said high water marks are specified as a jpg of a drunk Kyle Orton, a jpg of a drunk Josh Hamilton and a jpg of Brett Favre’s cock —- apparently causing multiple Sean Salisbury meltdowns didn’t meet Warzel’s standards!  Anyhow, if you’re amongst those who thought Deadspin founder Will Leitch (above, left) milked the site’s bro-tarded comments section for all it was worth, THINK AGAIN.  He’s not that kind of guy.

Leitch: I didn’t want comments at all. This was my little play land. I was having too much fun and comments added a new element. I didn’t know or even care if people were reading Deadspin at the time. I was just enjoying sitting in my little room. I had stopped looking at traffic. I said, “Just tell me at the end of each month if I don’t get my traffic goals. Just give me one warning and if I screw up again you can fire me.” I’m still like that now and I just don’t want to know the numbers. Chasing the traffic demon is the end of it all. I think it’s made everything [online] stupid.

Drew Magary: He’d seen how bad comments were on other sites. Most commenters on Yahoo and ESPN are morons writing things that are breathtakingly stupid. He probably thought, “Okay, I’ll write something smart, then commenters will call the President Hitler and this will suck.”

There was one point early on where Will would pull out comments of mine and stick them in a post and when he did that I’d be like, “Oh my God! Leitch posted the comment! I don’t feel so alone anymore! I’m so happy!” Five of us commenters eventually started a site called Kissing Suzy Kolber and Will championed our cause early. Every time he’d email me I’d get excited and think, “Wow a big media person likes our stuff.”

Leitch: I got over the comments issue quick because Deadspin commenters ended up being so awesome. It ended up that I worked the top part of the site and they worked the bottom. I never really read comments then, though I didn’t have any problems with them. After a while, I realized “Oh, its actually really funny!” By the time it had become a community though I was too busy writing posts. The Deadspin community formed entirely outside of my doing. I didn’t foster it. Not that I didn’t want it, but I just had no time to do it.

It’s entirely appropriate that KSK’s Margery is a character witness ; after all, it was long established that links at Deadspin during Leitch’s era were largely reduced to a small circle (jerk) of acolytes. But compare and contrast Leitch’s claim, “the Deadspin community formed entirely outside” with a September 2006 statement from the humble editor promising a “rather stingy” approvals process.  How do you know when the Man From Mattoon isn’t totally full of shit?  I was gonna write, “his lips aren’t moving”, but that doesn’t cover typing.

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