Gawker's Hacker Foes, the Joy of Nightblogging and Media's Best Bros

It's the Best Media Writing of the Week -- Plus a First-Ever Worst!

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Upon learning last weekend that Gawker Media had been compromised, as more than a few blogs and the culprits themselves put it, I was confused. Doesn't it require standards to be compromised? I wondered. Then I realized everyone was talking about the company's database, where a group of hackers had been lounging around for some time reading emails, LOL'ing at staff chats and compiling an awesome ungrammatical (and briefly profane) message that would be posted on a file-sharing site along with a list of commenter passwords and other fun stuff. Wrote the good folks at Gnosis:

So, here we are again with a monster release of ownage and data droppage. Previous attacks against the target were mocked, so we came along and raised the bar a little. Fuck you gawker, hows this for "script kids"? Your empire has been compromised, Your servers, Your database's, Online accounts and source code have all be ripped to shreds! You wanted attention, well guess what, You've got it now!

On the matter of Gnosis, very few bothered to do any reporting at all in order to shed light on just who these dudes are. There were big (wrong) assumptions that they were part of the 4chan crowd, and there was little to no insight into what was driving them or what they might do with the information they ripped from Gawker's database. A notable exception was The Daily Beast's Brian Reis, who, in short order, came up with a reasonably well-reported piece on the crew. To sum up, it's a 13-member international collective, and far from malicious. Instead, as Mr. Reis writes, the group is actually trying to help improve security on the web:

Members here talk openly of "whitehat scum," the security industry's inability "to secure their own systems," and their enjoyment going "deep into enemy territory to sabotage and dismantle these whitehat circle jerks." These newsletters are filled with ascii-character-encoded images of Homer Simpson, computer screens and a Ninja Star-throwing cat.

But those were all fun and games until now. The Gawker hack was their first big coup as a group. They had been at it for a month. As the news broke and Gawker Media was scrambling to patch the holes, Gnosis sat quietly, "Gawking at the media response," according to one involved in the aftermath.

Nightblogging ... yes, that's a job. It's a lonely, isolating graveyard shift of the mind that Josh Duboff tells us all about on The Awl:

There were aspects of working nights that weren't so bad. I got over my phobia of going to movies by myself. I could schedule doctor's appointments at literally any hour I pleased. I had a built-in excuse for missing all sorts of weeknight social engagements that I previously would have had to begrudgingly attend. More significantly, I increasingly felt like I was part of this rare and special tribe. Working at night by myself when no one was on the internet made me feel like a solo spaceship pilot, like every post about Sarah Palin or James Franco I churned out was going to ensure we stayed on course. I was careening through quiet forgotten internet space, a vast calm all around me. And while all my friends were at work during the day -- g-chatting and fidgeting in their itchy button-downs -- I was scarfing hummus and preparing for this noble take-off.

When your typical exec boards a plane and snuggles into the cushy first-class seat, she pulls out out a spreadsheet and takes a glance at her company's performance. Not Lauren Zalaznick. After boarding, she takes a look around and sees, well, the oppression of women, who still aren't flying first class anywhere near as frequently as men. For years now, the NBC Universal big has been cataloging evidence to show just how far women haven't made it, including The New York Times obituary page, as she relates in a surprisingly obsessive post on The Daily Beast. But gender isn't the only thing she's cataloged.

On the obits page, only 16% of the deaths reported on were women. The most common profession of the female dead, even filtered for women under 45 to take into account the changing social and professional status since 1960, was acting (which included "silent-film star" and "burlesque dancer"). Writers/journalists was the second most common. And a combination of "socialite," "philanthropist" and wife-of-a-rich-or-famous man was third.

In the year of op-eds I tracked, there were only a few female-penned ones that didn't mention the word "crying," and I don't think even one of the humor pieces for the entire year was written by a woman. That's not funny.

A few years later, I was five months pregnant with my third child when the World Trade Center attacks occurred, very close to our home. From the day he was born every day through his first birthday, I took a picture of him, my two other kids, my husband, and myself. The baby changed exponentially. The kids changed a lot. The grown-ups changed more than I thought we would. My hair never looked the same twice.

Not all media executives were created alike. While Ms. Zalaznick is FREAKING OUT about high-profile female mortality not being properly reported in the -- damn, the traitor -- Gray Lady, Dan Abrams and Dave Zinczenko are out bro'in and ho'in. You see, the Mediaite founder and Men's Health sixpack-in-chief are friends, which, naturally, calls for a really long New York Times article. Not interested? Try this. They're both bachelors -- sorta. Oh, and they have a new restaurant -- that they live near. Hooked? Thought so. Here, for the first time, the Worst Media Writing of the Week:

"There are occasions when one of us will go out without the other," said Mr. Abrams, who is 44. "And people will say, 'Hey, where's your buddy?' I think sometimes people presume that when we're out together, we're looking to meet women. There's been no question there have been times in our lives when he and I have gone out together and we've ended up meeting women. Dave and I took a trip to South Africa, and he ended up meeting his girlfriend there. When you spend this much time with someone, you end up getting involved in all aspects of each other's lives."


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