The Los Angeles Times found that Deadspin owner G/O Media’s argument that non-sports stories didn’t traffic well was inaccurate, and the newspaper’s story was tweeted out by Deadspin itself — despite the website’s entire staff being gone.
Amid the staff defections this week, G/O Media put out a statement on Thursday claiming that “in September, unsurprisingly, 24 of the top 25 stories on Deadspin were sports related while non-sports content accounted for less than 1% of the page views on the site.” The company used that as a way to defend their editorial decisions.
The LA Times report pushed back at a lot of those numbers, finding that in September, only 3.5% of the stories could be considered “non-sports,” but that those drove almost 4% of the traffic for September. Essentially, the LA Times found that those stories punched above their weight, drawing a higher average.
As of Friday, no writers or editors remain on staff at Deadspin, the sports and culture website that saw a mass exodus of staffers this week — six months after a private equity firm Great Hill Partners acquired the site as part of G/O Media and pressed major editorial changes, including the now-infamous “stick to sports mandate.”
The staffing exodus from the sports-culture site really kicked off Wednesday, as at least seven reporters and editors resigned following the firing of top editor Barry Petchesky on Tuesday for failing to heed the new owners’ directive to focus exclusively on sports content. Backlash to the “stick to sports” edict came to a head on Monday, when G/O Media editorial director Paul Maidment sent a memo — first obtained by the Daily Beast — to Deadspin staffers, putting into writing that the site’s reporters and editors “write only about sports and that which is relevant to sports in some way.”
Deadspin's audience numbers don't support 'stick to sports' mandate https://t.co/IyuW6h7zHE
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) November 2, 2019