Splinter, which came online in 2017, is owned by G/O Media, the company that ultimately came to own what remains of the Gawker empire: Gizmodo, Deadspin, Jalopnik, Lifehacker and others. The publications, once collectively called Gizmodo Media Group, were purchased by Great Hill Partners, a private equity firm, earlier this year.
Great Hill Partners appointed Jim Spanfeller as CEO of G/O Media. In the months since his appointment, Spanfeller and the journalists who work there have clashed over his vision for the publications. Megan Greenwell, the former editor-in-chief of Deadspin, quit in August. In an essay explaining her decision, Greenwell wrote that she believed Spanfeller thought "he could simply turn up the traffic (and thus turn a profit), as if adjusting a faucet, not by investing in quality journalism but by tricking people into clicking on more pages.” (After Greenwell quit, Paul Maidment, G/O Media’s editorial director, told The Daily Beast that the former editor “had a different vision” for Deadspin, and wished her well.)
Earlier in the summer, Deadspin had published a lengthy expose on their new owners.
G/O Media responded to a request for comment from The Washington Post with a copy of the email Maidment sent to Splinter staffers about the shuttering. Maidment wrote that G/O Media planned to redistribute former Splinter jobs across the company’s other publications. The memo said there would be “no reduction of G/O Media’s editorial workforce." G/O Media said they hoped former Splinter staffers would apply for new jobs at the company’s other sites.
However, Splinter staffers have suggested on Twitter that there have been layoffs.
The GMG Union, which represents staff of what was once the Gizmodo Media Group, said that 7 of their members at Splinter lost their jobs. In a statement to The Washington Post, the Writers Guild of America, East said they were “working with our members to ensure they receive the severance guaranteed in their collective bargaining agreement."
According to a count by Business Insider, more than 7,000 people working in media — including at companies like Disney and Verizon — have lost their jobs in 2019.
This post has been updated