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New Republic: Gawker is trying to use ‘Adult’ language

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117289/gawker-language-memo-encourages-use-adult-language

Internet slang is what it is, at least for my generation. What this seems to be, though, is an internal acknowledgment at Gawker that people don’t take them seriously at a reputational level. On one hand, this is true. On the other hand, will use or non-use of slang change that?

The industry I read up on most seriously (other than energy, which I read up on because I’m paid to) is the auto industry. When you look at Autoblog (the mass media car blog), Jalopnik (the Gawker car blog) and The Truth About Cars (the independent car blog), the difference between the three in breaking news is minimal. In terms of scoops, the difference is still minimal, though Jalopnik has been a little ahead at times due to a cheery disdain for press embargoes (which I don’t see as a bad thing, mind you). As far as non-news features, Jalopnik and TTAC far outstrip Autoblog, though the quality of material from the two is similar (though their slant and chosen material are quite different).

So Gawker has successfully broken into car blogging. And car blogging is an apt example not just because I like cars, but because the auto press has declined farther and faster than more mainstream press. Car magazines were known to fluff reviews to the point of pointlessness even before the internet. Now, the only car magazines making a comeback are those with a solid online presence, and other than Road and Track (which, by the way, is piggybacking on Gawker’s content system Kinja), they’re all now also-rans to the Autoblogs and Jalopniks of the world.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing that Gawker wants to be taken seriously, and is trying to clean up their editing to that effect. But one needs to remember that in the end, the only reason they’re under this pressure is that they’re so damn successful in the first place.

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