Sam Biddle is one of Gawker.com’s most widely known writers. He used to run Gawker's Silicon Valley gossip blog, Valleywag, and today he announced that he will be joining the Intercept, published by Pierre Omidyar’s First Look, to cover Silicon Valley once again.
It is the first high-profile exit since Gawker announced it was entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week, though both Biddle and Gawker Media editorial boss John Cook said that the decision was made well before the Hogan trial verdict or the Friday filing. (Cook was briefly editor of the Intercept before returning to Gawker.) You can read both Cook’s and Biddle’s full memos about the news below.
At the end of the bankruptcy process, which is expected to finish sometime this summer, Gawker Media Group will have a new owner. Until then, expect other Gawker writers to follow Biddle on his way to the exit.
Or, as one Gawker employee put it, “It's open season on staffers here."
Where might Gawker people go? Well, many of the biggest and best-known companies (digital and print) already have former Gawker staffers among their ranks, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see BuzzFeed or Recode proprietor Vox Media snap up some more of them.
For more on Biddle’s exit, here’s Cook's memo to Gawker Media staff:
Maybe Allison and I named our middle son after Sam Biddle, maybe we didn’t. You don’t need to know. But the two Sams — watch them in action here — make similar demands on my love. They are puckish, emotionally manipulative, charming, scatalogically fixated, hilarious, and resilient. They swing from dark to light with liberating ease, constantly aware that our highs and lows are always leavened by an insistent reality, never completely surrendering to cloying contentedness or existential dread (or, in my little Sam’s case, existential crankiness).
I will always have my little Sam, but we are losing Our Little Sam. He’s off to the Intercept, the newsletter for Ralph Nader’s national network of Public Interest Research Groups, to cover technology.
There will be time for roasts, for best-of posts, for encomia. I’ll just say I am proud and devastated. You can trace in Sam’s career here — from a Gizmodo intern in 2010 to one of the most beloved and attacked voices in journalism — the entire late history of the internet. The thrill of newfound freedom, the child-like glee of trying on new voices, the ongoing calibration of emerging authority, the curdling of unlimited free expression into endless serial mob outrages. Sam lived all of that, and he did it in service to the idea of Gawker, best exemplified by his tour of duty at Valleywag, where he fearlessly and wittily called bullshit on all manner of very expensive and very well-defended hype. Nobody else was doing it, so he did it.
That fearlessness was not without its costs, and I don’t blame Sam, after the battles he’s been drawn into, for looking fondly on a job that isn’t also a constant high-wire act. For what it’s worth, his decision to move up a dozen or so floors to the top of this tower, where First Look Media sits, predated Friday’s news of a forthcoming sale of the company. Six years is a long time, and he has earned the right to look us all in the eye and say goodbye.
The experience of the last year has made me very proud to have collected the enemies we have irked — Peter Thiel, Donald Trump, and their allies. It has also made me very proud of the friends we have, Sam chief among them. He’ll be missed.
And here’s Biddle’s good-bye letter to Gawker.com:
Dear Gawker family —
My first job at this company six years ago was the first real job I've ever had (which explains a lot right?) and it's been the most rewarding part of my life since. But although sometimes I've assumed I would work here until I die, before being placed into an enormous ornate crypt with Nick and John, blog years are sort of like dog years, and after six, I'm leaving Gawker later this month. The good news is I'm just moving upstairs to The Intercept, so you'll probably still be able to hear my extremely loud and annoying laugh from inside the building. The bad is that I'm leaving a company that's become like my family and best friends since 2010, through extremely thick and extremely thin. I'm going to miss every single one of you because there is simply nowhere like here.
I want all of you to know that my decision predates Friday's turmoil and even the Hogan verdict by months, and I can't overstate how much I still believe in this place and its importance. Working at Gawker was my dream when I first knew I wanted to write for a living, and sometimes I still can't believe that it not only came true, but that I got to live it with people like you — insane, insanely funny, extremely smart, and unstoppable. I'm always in disbelief that I've had a job where we get to basically laugh all day, every day, while at the same time telling amazing stories and providing a critical eye where no one else would look. It's just time for me to take a next step.
When I've felt exhausted or discouraged over the years, all I've needed to do is look at the writers and editors next to me, and it's enough to feel thrilled and determined again. I know that I'll be able to look to you all for that same kind of reminder and courage no matter when and where we are.
ps please don't start putting me in #badtweets immediately, no matter how much I deserve it
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.