Media Turnabout is Fair Play?

What Everyone Is Talking About

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NEW YORK ( -- Media blogs are typically great places to hear entertainingly vicious commentary about forced ousters and abrupt resignations at mainstream old-line media companies.
Amanda Congdon
Amanda Congdon

But bloggers have recently been occupied with the firing of one of their own, Jesse Oxfeld from Gawker and the unexpected departure of another, Amanda Congdon from video blog Rocketboom. All of a sudden bloggers are the story and mainstream media who've been burned can enjoy the turnabout.

Take Mr. Oxfeld's exit, which he learned about from Gawker Media czar Nick Denton on June 30, a development first reported on by Gawker competitor Rumors soon emerged that Mr. Oxfeld wasn't funny enough and that he was too much of a media-business wonk when the site -- supposedly -- wanted to tack toward celebrity news.

Gawker averaged 532,000 unique monthly visitors last year but has considerably increased traffic so far in 2006. Its unique monthly visitors averaged just shy of 1.1 million from January through May, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. But America Online's young, celeb-obsessed site has already chalked up an average of 3.4 million unique monthly visitors through May. That TMZ traffic will probably climb further in the wake of an extensive article about TMZ in The New York Times by none other than Jessica Coen, the Gawker co-editor who got to keep her post.

Mr. Denton and other Gawkerites said Manhattan media will continue to be part of the site's DNA. Commenters on the site remained wary. "This is not progress,"one wrote.

Over at Rocketboom, the daily three-minute videoblog covering all kinds of techno-related subjects, co-writer and host Ms. Congdon used a clip to say she had been "unboomed." But the site's creator, Andrew Baron, posted a note of his own, saying Ms. Congdon decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue opportunities in Hollywood.

Then Ms. Congdon used her personal blog to assert distress at Mr. Baron's decision "to spread misinformation" and say again that she was fired.

"He knows I cannot move to L.A. without a job ... but insists on spinning things this way to shore up his assertion that I am 'walking away' from Rocketboom."

By her account, Ms. Congdon was only given the unacceptable option of continuing as the "face" of Rocketboom with no further involvement. "Very old media," she said. We shudder to think.
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