Gothamist's purpose is very simple: rewrite everything significant in the morning's New York Times in short, passionless, humorless, bite-sized chunks. I don't get it. But for some reason, some people do, and they prefer to get their New York Times chewed up in the form of room-temperature gruel rather than go directly to the source and read the, you know, New York Times itself.
Okay, I get it; Tony O is a man who takes his gruel hot, and neat, and farm-to-table. But seeing the Village Voice attack Gothamist is a little like watching Jann Wenner trash Brooklyn Vegan. Let's not forget that li'l olde Gothamist is one of Ortega's competitors, and—setting aside his taste in gruel—it seems he's a little resentful that so many consume what he considers to be pabulum, when they could instead be staining their fingers with the increasingly eviscerated publication he's valiantly salvaging, like an underpaid organ harvester, from Village Voice Media's machetes.
I think this is a good opportunity to point out that despite a bare-bones staff of four, Gothamist does in fact produce a proportionally substantial amount of gruel-free content, which even Runnin' Scared is sometimes compelled to acknowledge. Sure, for the most part these are not BFD stories (except maybe that time we broke the Cop Bike Bodyslam story, or the Christina Hendricks/Times controversy, or the Natavia Lowery Pantsgate, or the classic misogynistic Hasidic cop pug story). These are the idiosyncratic little niche stories that you may or may not read in the tabloids the day after we post them. Like when the DOT suddenly removed part of the Bedford Avenue bike lane to placate Satmar leaders, or when the Sad Panda was discovered. I'm also particularly proud of our maple syrup smell coverage.
And it doesn't end at syrup, you guys. Whenever a crane collapses, something's on fire, a plane crashes, a bomb scares you in this town, who does a better job of assimilating real-time coverage in a visceral, hot-n-sloppy way? Our new restaurant coverage is also laboriously house-made, we do all sorts of interesting interviews with noteworthy personalities, and who can resist clicking away like a coked-up lab rat on our photo flashbacks of New York through the years? Our indie rock and theater coverage is organic, steaming porridge; our weather guy somehow makes weather fun; and our events newsletter tells thousands of New Yorkers where to go on a daily basis. Subscribe today, and you'll add another "follower" to your inbox!
Now, Ortega seems to justify Runnin' Scared's aggregation of other news outlets' reportage with the observation that they make the jokes and we do not make the jokes. Responding to allegations of humorlessness is a fool's errand, especially with all these distracting cocks flying around. Gothamist isn't trying to be The Daily Show, but for Ortega to suggest that we don't bring any passionate flavor or creativity or even whimsy to our coverage of New York City is bogus.
If his point is that the Village Voice—with its venerable history and underminey corporate backing—is better than tiny DIY Gothamist, then who are we to argue? But his oversimplified contempt for Gothamist seems grossly disproportionate, until you factor in that his newest employee almost immediately cost his company one million dollars in ad revenue. That's pretty punk, but it must be accounted for, and deflecting the attention to Gothamist in his public memo strikes me as sleight of hand. I'm not going to wade into the rumors of Gothamist being sold, because I honestly know less about it than you do. (I need a Venn diagram just to wrap my head around who's fellating who.) But Ortega's assertion that Jake Dobkin is one of the most humorless people he's ever met is so bizarre I can only assume Dobkin didn't LOLZ enough at Ortega's dick jokes when they met. Either that or Ortega just didn't dig what Dobkin had to say about print's business model.
Dobkin may be an inscrutable loose cannon who's surely alienated you and your mother at one time or another over these long blog years, but to describe him as "humorless" is so far off the mark that, upon reflection, it actually makes Ortega's whole uninformed assessment of Gothamist snap into focus: This guy doesn't really know Gothamist or its publisher at all. Which, who cares, but what's really interesting here is how Ortega ends his macho rant. Only after James Dolan and his cronies yank a million fucking dollars out of the Village Voice does Ortega decide he wants to go to "work" reporting where Dolan's metaphorical dick has been. So all it takes to get the Village Voice EIC after you these days is to withdraw your literal fat money roll from his hungry mouth. How punk is that?