The Wall Street Journal: Deadspin revolt escalates, with mass resignations by staff

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Things are spinning out of control over at Deadspin.

Several staffers at the news site announced their resignations on Wednesday — amid a struggle with their G/O Media bosses who recently issued a memo telling writers to file only sports stories.

The internal revolt began Tuesday with rebellious staffers continuing to write non-sports stories — and the deputy director saying he’d been fired for not following the directive.

“Hi! I’ve just been fired from Deadspin for not sticking to sports,” tweeted Barry Petchesky.

On Wednesday, sports writer Lauren Theisen posted an image she said was of “the meeting where management tried to get us to move past Barry’s firing.” She then announced that she was leaving the site over how her colleagues were treated.

Features writer Kelsey McKinney and media reporter Laura Wagner were also among the many staffers to announce they quit Wednesday.

A G/O spokesperson said in a statement: “They resigned and we’re sorry that they couldn’t work within this incredibly broad coverage mandate. We’re excited about Deadspin’s future and we’ll have some important updates in the coming days.”

The union for G/O Media workers responded with a blunt statement: “From the outset, CEO Jim Spanfeller has worked to undermine a successful site by curtailing its most well-read coverage because it makes him personally uncomfortable. This is not what journalism looks like and it is not what editorial independence looks like. … In addition to being bad business, Spanfeller’s actions are morally reprehensible. The GMG Union stands with our current and former Deadspin colleagues and condemns Jim Spanfeller in the strongest possible terms.”

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