Earlier this month, the world of online feminist media was hit with an enormous blow when it was announced that G/O Media was shutting down the website Jezebel. Now it looks like that death may have been short-lived.
Jezebel was a major influence on so many baby feminists in the mid-to-late aughts and 2010s. It carved out an online space that made feminism feel truly accessible, where readers and writers alike could rant about systemic oppression and also engage in some celebrity gossip snark.
As writer Moe Tkacik put it in an early Jezebel blog post:
Jezebel is a blog for women that will attempt to take all the essentially meaningless but sweet stuff directed our way and give it a little more meaning, while taking [the more] serious stuff and making it more fun, or more personal, or at the very least the subject of our highly sophisticated brand of sex joke. Basically, we wanted to make the sort of women’s magazine we’d want to read.
Unfortunately, the kind of essential work Jezebel was doing in 2023 (especially in regard to the stellar journalism they were doing around the war on reproductive freedom) did not align with G/O’s “business model.” Meaning, presumably, that companies weren’t eager to see their ads next to bummer reporting on the dismantling of women’s and marginalized people’s bodily autonomy, and the corporate response to that is to ignore reality and focus on getting that cash.
G/O Media CEO Jim Spanfeller said Jezebel had to shut down because no one wanted to buy it. Jezebel countered that the actual reason was “strategic and commercial ineptitude,” which sure seems more likely since just a few weeks after its shuttering was announced, Paste Magazine acquired the site.
On Monday, December 11, Jezebel’s Editor-in-Chief Lauren Tousignant published an article on on jezebel.com titled “Hey. We’re Back.”
In that article, Tousignant talks about her history with Jezebel, both as a reader and as a part of the team. She highlights the importance of the site in our hellish political landscape, writing, “I am not interested in a world without Jezebel. And, as we head into 2024, I am extremely not interested in a presidential election without Jezebel.”
But (if you haven’t picked up on it already) Jezebel is back. My goal as the site’s new Editor-in-Chief is simple: Keep Jezebel as weird, hilarious, and rightfully outraged as ever. (Unfortunately, now that I have a job again, I have about $2,000 of unused coding classes I don’t know what to do with.) Expect to see a lot of familiar names and the same standard-setting content as we work to expand Jezebel’s readership and reach, and bring in as many new and disruptive voices as the cosmos will allow. I hope you’ll join us in Jezebel’s new era. It’s going to be a dancing-naked-under-the-full-moon-in-a-supernatural-graveyard-with-all-your-friends kind of blast. I’ve never been more excited in my life.
This is all fantastic news, though there is reason for some caution in our excitement and our optimism. Ideally, Jezebel’s union would hold under new leadership and the entire staff would be brought in at their previous salaries. We don’t know the inner workings of their union or this sale, of course, but that seems unlikely.
Also, Paste has not been without its own issues. It’s developed a reputation in the online media world for its low freelance rates.
Hopefully Paste is a good home for Jezebel’s staff and its readers. For now, we’ll the site’s resurrection as a small bit of good news in the increasingly dire landscape of online media.
This article has been updated.
(featured image: Know Your Meme/Wikimedia Commons)
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