Before breaking down the significance of Jezebel, it would be helpful to explain the history and set-up of the site. Jezebel was founded in May 2007 as a purely female directed blog associated with Gawker.com, the popular online news/culture blog. (PR Week) The website has 2.1 million monthly readers(Jezebel demographics). Gawker Media was established in 2002 by Nick Denton and currently publishes eight different blogs that each target niche audiences. (Who We Are) The blogs range from Deadspin, which focuses on sports, to i09, which focuses on technology (Who We Are). The different blogs will often link to each other’s content, or have their content featured on the more general main site, Gawker.com. While Gawker at its root is meant to express the experience and ideas of a young New Yorker, the wide range of sites shows broader appeal(Grigoriadis 2007). A glance at the Gawker.com home page reveals that the stories expand far beyond the interest and experience of a New Yorker but still with the biting edge the city is known for.
Dent likes to view Gawker publications not just as a string of blogs but an empire of magazines like Condé Naste (Grigoriadis 2007). Additionally, many of the writers are journalist with credits from mainstream news outlets and formal media training (Grigoriadis 2007). In fact, “Gawker is often credited with legitimizing blogging as journalism” and instead of more lowbrow blog posts, the items on the page are described as articles, which has a more professional connotation(Manjoo 2010).
This growth of Gawker media can be viewed as a result of the “professionalization of blogging.” While blogging was once a more independent medium, professionals from the media are increasingly staffing it, or bloggers are becoming part of other media projects (Carlson 2009). An article in Atlantic Magazine discusses these phenomena, citing a discussion among bloggers where “almost everyone weighing in agreed that blogging has become more corporate, more ossified and increasingly indistinguishable from the mainstream media”(Carlson 2009). With the increasing popularity of blogging it has become a profitable industry, and is therefore increasingly subject to market disciplines” (Carlson 2009). However, due to its occasionally risqué and controversial material, Jezebel is considered “a risky self for mainstream marketers” (Dobrow 2008).
The websites all feature visible advertisements, the first of which was an Absolut Vodka ad in 2003 (Timetoast). All of the Gawker Media holdings are vastly popular, and together reached over 250 million page views in June 2008(Timetoast). In February 2012, Jezebel received 11,274,170 page views (Jezebel Stats). Page views are displayed for the website as a whole, and individually by reach contributor (Jezebel Stats). There is also a detailed report for all of the Gawker media holdings, which breaks down the holdings by demographics. All of the statistics indicate that Jezebel, and Gawker in general have a large number of viewers, cementing their importance in the digital media landscape.
Carlson, Benjamin. “The Rise of the Professional Blogger.” The Atlantic. The Atlantic Monthly, Nov. 2009. Web. 22 Mar. 2012. <http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/09/the-rise-of-the-professional-blogger/7696/>.
Chartbeat. “Jezebel.com.” Chartbeat. Web. 19 June 2009 < http://chartbeat.com/dashboard2/? url=jezebel.com&k=2b3d990a244b3531b681932ac5c8ce33 >.
“Demographics.” Gawker Media. Gawker Media. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. <http://advertising.gawker.com/demographics/>.
Dobrow, Larry. “Lets Hear It for Women Who Suffer No Fools.” Ad Age Media Works. 13 March 2008. Web. 20 March 2012 < http://adage.com/article/mediaworks/hear-women-suffer-fools/125671/>
Grigoriadis, Vanessa. “Gawker and the Rage of the Creative Underclass.” New York News & Features. New York Magazine, 14 Oct. 2007. Web. 22 Mar. 2012. <http://nymag.com/news/features/39319/>.
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“Jezebel Stats.” Jezebel: Celebrity, Sex, Fashion for Women. Without Airbrushing. Feb. 2012. Web. 22 Mar. 2012. <http://jezebel.com/stats/?unique=true>.
Johnson, Steve. “Jezebel: A Few words with the editor [Chicago Edition].” The Chicago Tribune.25 July 2007: Web. <22 Mar. 2012 < http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2007-07-25/features/0707230542_1_jezebel-gawker-media-celebrity>
Manjoo, Farhad. “Blogs and Web Magazines Are Looking More and More Alike. What’s the Difference?” Slate Magazine. Slate Magazine, 15 Oct. 2010. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. <http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2010/10/this_is_not_a_blog_post.html>.
PR Week. “Journalist Q&A – Anna Holmes, Jezebel.” PR Week. 4 June 2007: 12. Print.
Timetoast. “Annotated History of Gawker Media” Gawker Media” Timetoast., n.d. Web 20 March 2012. < http://www.timetoast.com/timelines/2561>
Wazny, Katelyn M. “Feminist Communities Online: What it means to be a Jezebel.” B Sides 8 (2010): 1- 23.
” Who We Are.” Gawker Media. Gawker Media. Web. 22 Mar. 2012. <http://advertising.gawker.com/gawkermedia/>.