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A eulogy for from its first editor, Elizabeth Spiers

Plus: What it’s like working for Donald Trump’s son-in-law.

Courtesy Elizabeth Spiers

After a bankruptcy auction, Gawker Media has a new owner, Univision. But it’s not yet clear what will happen to the company’s flagship site

Update: Now it's clear: is shutting down.

The first person to write and edit, Elizabeth Spiers, has a few things to say about that. Speaking shortly before the auction on the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka, Spiers recalled that started as a completely different sort of site from what it is today.

"There have been so many incarnations of Gawker," Spiers said. "If you read it when I was writing it, it wasn’t really negative — it was gleefully laughing at the notion that the entire world revolves around New York. The alter-ego voice I was using was a persona that had no self-awareness, and that was part of the fun of it."

She noted that she would not have "gone after somebody gratuitously," pointing to the site’s controversial outing of a closeted Condé Nast executive last year and similar stories that have arisen under later editors.

"For better or worse, people will remember Gawker for its extreme posts — both the positive ones and the negative ones, but it’s always easier to remember the negative ones," Spiers said.

On the new podcast, she also discussed working at the New York Observer under Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and her new gig as founder of the virtual reality agency The Insurrection. She said the introductions most people are receiving to VR, via low-cost means such as Google Cardboard, don’t hold a candle to high-end systems.

"Anybody would see Google Cardboard and go ‘Oh, that’s cool, but …’" Spiers said. "Google Cardboard versus full-immersion [VR] is the difference between looking at a 2-D cartoon and looking at a Pixar movie."

You can listen to Recode Media in the audio player above, or subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.

If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:

  • Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with the movers and shakers in tech and media every Monday. You can subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
  • Too Embarrassed to Ask, hosted by Kara Swisher and The Verge's Lauren Goode, answers all of the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
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If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on iTunes — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Peter. Tune in next Thursday for another episode of Recode Media!

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