I’m told Jesse Oxfeld’s final day posting on was Friday when he was informed to his immense surprise that his contract won’t be renewed. Blogs and The New York Times‘ David Carr has a story about a Gawker realignment in Monday’s paper. Calling it “a bit of a surprise,” the article says Gawker Media king Nick Denton “celebrated a very upbeat stretch in the blogging industry by putting two of his sites on the block, reorganizing others and laying off several people. ’Better to sober up now, before the end of the party,’ he said.” See also Jossip and FishbowlNY. According to the many emails I’ve received, Oxfeld began immediately spinning his exit to NYC media at a Friday night party. He’s saying Gawker will focus more on pop culture and less on the media in the near future. Curious, since Gawker’s biggest buzz comes from its many media readers (and I include my hopelessly addicted self among them). But Lockhart Steele, Gawker Media managing editor, disputes Jesse’s claim. ”The idea that Gawker.com is going to abandon media coverage is, for the record, incorrect. It will always remain at the core of what we do on the site.”
Here’s a sampling of what I’m being told about Oxfeld’s departure: “Everyone in Manhattan is thrilled. He was talking about how he’s worried everyone is going to come after him. Which they are.” Let me make it clear that I don’t share those nasty sentiments, even though Oxfeld and I had a private email exchange last week over the integrity of a statement he made about me. (He then posted the back-and-forth on Gawker without warning me). I’m certain that had nothing to do with his departure. But he apologized (albeit snarkily), I accepted, and I did receive two big assignments from a pair of major magazines because of it. Go figure. I’ll take the high road and wish him well in his future news-aggregating endeavors. That smile you see on my face is merely my immense pleasure that we’re having such lovely weather in Los Angeles right now. But, Jesse, a word to the wise: don’t even think about looking for work here.
UPDATE: In his farewell post today, Oxfeld bid me adieu: “Finally, before I go, I’d like to say one last thing to Anderson [Cooper], Maer [Roshan], Alessandra [Stanley], Laurel [Touby], publicists, Nikki [Finke], Philadelphians, Kruc, and everyone else I’ve mocked from this perch: Denton made me do it.”
Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.