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Corporate Owner Shuts Down Jezebel

The G/O Media corporation is shutting down feminist website Jezebel, not because Jezebel’s not awesome—because Jezebel is, and was, and was part of blogging when blogging was awesome and new and potentially impactful:

Jezebel and its peer sites interrupted this misogynist turn [of the 1990s], offering an invaluable alternative. They pioneered a voice-forward, irreverent and acerbic take on news, culture and women’s issues, advancing a tone and vocabulary that would have been unthinkable in print media, but which were the lingua franca of the internet.

From the beginning, the feminist blogs of the 2000s and 2010s allowed their writers to express anger, frustration, sarcasm and delight – emotions that were banished from the tone of more traditional journalism and frequently taboo for public expression by women to begin with. The sites cultivated a profound loyalty from their readers, inviting them into a club of shared conviction and inspiring them to build their identities as feminists, thinkers and allies of the staff writers long before anyone learned the word “parasocial” [Moira Donegan, “The Death of Jezebel Is the End of an Era of Feminism. We’re Worse Off Without It,” Guardian, 2023.11.11].

And Jezebel’s closure is not because it couldn’t make money. It just wasn’t making enough money for the Wall Streeters who bought it:

There is one way to see the closing of Jezebel as a symptom of an ailing media business. Journalism layoffs have become something of a grim ritual, with dozens of talented, hardworking and well-sourced writers taking to social media to announce their need for new work whenever the industry turns the corner on a bad quarter. Media companies stumbled at the turn of the last century, when the advent of the internet made print advertising dramatically less profitable; they never recovered. Digital media arose, but has not been able to eke out sufficient profit growth as social media evolves and fractures, and traffic becomes harder to juice. Jezebel’s slow death over the past few years was exacerbated by the injection of private equity into the media industry, a medicine that has turned out to be worse than the disease.

Jezebel, like many digital outlets that have shut down in recent years, had the potential to be respectably profitable. But it did not have the potential to be exponentially profitable, and exponentially increasing profits are what private equity demands. In this story, Jezebel became a casualty of greed [Donegan, 2023.11.11].

Nobody in online media seems to be making lots of money, not the folks like Jezebel upsetting the apple cart, and not the more traditional neo-papers who help pour the sugar into the usual sweetened applesauce. Is there any remaining viable business model to support independent, authentic, and useful sources of information like Jezebel on the Internet?


  1. e platypus onion 2023-11-11

    You should own the name and attach it to Jezebel Noem permanently. Or buy the name and sell it to Bryon for a fortune.

  2. grudznick 2023-11-11

    Print me a good thick weekend paper that I can husk the inserts out of and sit down with a big gravy-laden breakfast to read, keep the content free from the vast libbie-bias that has killed most all newspapers, and you’d really have something. Like the old days. Libbie-bias killed the print mediums. That Sioux Falls newspaper led the way.

  3. larry kurtz 2023-11-11

    The Stateline group seems to be doing well.

  4. larry kurtz 2023-11-11

    Our Lady of the Arroyo is hooked on Pasatiempo, the weekend supplement to the Santa Fe New Mexican and it does indeed start the fire in the kiva.

  5. David Bergan 2023-11-11

    Substack seems to have figured it out.

    Kind regards,

  6. grudznick 2023-11-11

    You pimping for The Dakota Scout these days, Mr. Bergan? Until Mr. H pods about, which would be really neato, you are just promoting direct competition for for-profit fellows who helped take down that Sioux Falls newspaper. So they have that going for them, at least.

  7. grudznick 2023-11-11

    It would be neato if, and this could already be the case but you fellows wouldn’t know, The Dakota Scout and the Substack outfit were paying grudznick on a contract through the sessions of the legislatures this next year, to garner up some news. I can’t confirm or deny, but golly that would be a thing, init?

  8. Sam Quentin 2023-11-11

    The 80/20 Rule is rearing its ugly head in modern times.
    Corporate M&A’s are still in frenzied pace.
    Trying to support independent, authentic, and useful sources of information has become a task for Sisyphus’.
    Any semblance of true market competition has been most completely displaced by the neo planned market economy, courtesy of the largest Big Asset Management firms, and their largest subsidiaries, like Blackstone (the G/O Media killer?).

    Those largest Big Asset Management firms have created the new Hydra.
    Its multiple heads controlling most every single industry, with any attempt to chop off one of those heads resulting in even more heads.
    Where o where art thou, Hercules?

  9. grudznick 2023-11-11

    Mr. Quentin, I feel like you could form better paragraph structures, but grudznick just isn’t enough of an English student to help you there. Are you just C&P from Mr. Lansing’s sub-par Grok AI?

  10. larry kurtz 2023-11-11

    When the Rapid City Journal is the definitive bonfire starter South Dakota is a destination for mills that make paper.

  11. grudznick 2023-11-11

    I find the Black Hills Pioneer editorial board does the best job of editing paragraph structures.

  12. Bob Newland 2023-11-11

    Finally! I know it was accidental, but Grudznutz made a comment both accurate and worthwhile.

  13. Sam Quentin 2023-11-11

    @grudznick in re: to Sam Quentin
    Would you mind elaborating?
    I thrive on critique, but not sure of your true focus on & issue with my style.

    I try to give people enough info to encourage more thought & research on their end, without writing a book, and without doing that work for them.
    Keep in mind that some of the greatest Writers faced some of the greatest critiques in their time (certainly not I count myself amongst that distinction).
    And style is most purely subjective. I’ve found it rarely hurts to explore the bounds outside our own safety & comfort zones. Hell, it may even help a few people grow intellectually.

    As for critique – “Are you just C&P from Mr. Lansing’s sub-par Grok AI?” – I have absolutely no idea what that means? So I guess right back at ya.
    It’s often far easier to judge others than to judge ourselves.

    I will gladly elaborate more on my side if necessary, but be prepared for a lengthy composition.
    Life (and knowledge thereof) is often much more complicated than highly-reductionist narratives.

  14. grudznick 2023-11-11

    Thank you, that was mildly entertaining and I enjoy your style. However, grudznick is not a fan of lengthy compositions, Mr. Quentin. I have, on occasion, been know to urge others to tighten up their bloggings. Not you, at least not yet.

  15. grudznick 2023-11-11

    Bob, my good friend, please don’t pee in Trudy’s back yard tonight, she’s growing tired of it.

  16. Sam Quentin 2023-11-11

    I would argue that true knowledge requires lengthy composition, i.e. more fully-comprehensive data sets, ideas, concepts, theories, etc.
    Three concepts often go hand-in-hand:
    1. “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”
    2. “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge”
    3. The Dunning Kruger effect.
    The lesser that people consider & know, the more they tend to think they know, which often actually results in greater ignorance (if you think you already know something then you’re perhaps less likely to remain considerate of other ideas, ideas that may well prove more accurate in the future).
    There is little body of knowledge (if any) that has remained consistent over time. Much of what was believed yesteryear is considered obsolete today.
    Similarly, much of what is believed today will become obsolete in the future. Thus constant consideration is a blessing (& rare quality).
    That constant consideration requires voluminous sourcing.
    The Writers I look to most are those that present often wildly different concepts, then bother to explore each, in-depth, rather than remaining sure of any one. And those that aren’t afraid to challenge with “aberrant” concepts (much of what is taken as true today started off as being considered eccentric & “crazy” when first presented).
    A person like Galileo is just one example (of hundreds, thousands? Likely more) of how new ideas are often largely rejected as absurd.
    There was a time when the very idea of the existence of the atom was considered crazy. Yet the more that time goes by, the more we find ever-smaller & smaller particles (what I tend to believe as the infinite nature of particularization).

    Whereas most abhor cognitive dissonance, I thrive on it.

    When I read anything, I take pauses and explore the influences (and even challenges) behind that thing I’m reading. One book (or source) for me often becomes introduction for dozens of others (both pro & con).

    The extreme limitations of “groupthink”, highly-reductionist narratives, and ignorance often reside side-by-side.
    We should never stop challenging ourselves intellectually by constantly challenging what we think & believe.
    Numerous studies have shown how the rise of the digital age has severely limited the human capacity for greater attention spans.

    Hence true knowledge is exhaustive.

    See, I warned you.
    All this, and just for the one limited topic of lengthy compositions.

  17. All Mammal 2023-11-12

    Mr. Quentin- You’re darn tootin’. I believe I traveled down a handful of paths from the trailhead of your comment.

    My favorite part was where you reminded me of my favorite sentence out of the Speedball Calligraphy 100 yr Anniversary textbook I especially used for fancy hand writing practice. I had about forgotten it until you mentioned eccentric and crazy ideas.
    “ Children in some future age,
    Reading this indignant page,
    Know that in a former time
    Love, sweet love, was thought a crime.”
    originally from Blake’s A Little Girl Lost.

    Your name also reminds me of my dear OG friend who served 42 years in San Quentin. He taught me about the Tibetan Book of the Dead and how to levitate. My hashbrown casserole is finally done. Gnight.

  18. Algebra 2023-11-12

    I had never heard of Jezebel until now.
    Sounds like it was one of those things where fat ugly women with potty mouths could complain because nobody wants anything to do with them, much less help them get pregnant.
    When post-menopausal lesbians howl about “women’s right to choose,” they don’t like it when everybody else tells them they really don’t have anything to worry about.

  19. larry kurtz 2023-11-12

    Al Novstrup is a short, post-menopausal incel.

  20. e platypus onion 2023-11-12

    Noem, thy name be Jezebel!
    What was Jezebel’s sin?
    Jezebel: Midrash and Aggadah | Jewish Women’s Archive
    Idolatry was Jezebel’s most grievous sin.

  21. Sam Quentin 2023-11-12

    As my writing style on blogs tends to be enigmatic, due to my attempts at brevity, and since a self-regarded “Libertarian” (I believe) chose to confront my freedom of expression here, I’ll explain my comment, then abandon commenting on DFP in the future.

    The 80/20 Rule (i.e. the Pareto Principle) – Contemporary media, both traditional & digital, like most all other industries today, has seen tremendous consolidations & concentrations of ownership, severely limiting true choices for “news” & info.
    Much of that due to corporate Mergers & Acquisitions, which have seen frenzied pace especially since 2008 onward. And often via covert means, like share acquisition, equity investments, debt leverage, etc.

    Sisyphus – A character from Greek mythology. Punished by Hades, whom then forced him to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll back down every time it neared the top, repeating this action for eternity
    Due to that massive consolidation/concentration in media, often trying to publish truly independent sources of info. has become like that fruitless task of trying to roll that boulder up that hill, as true independents with limited capital face industry behemoths, with near unlimited capital resources.

    Big Asset Management firms (i.e. Blackstone) – Have become the primary causes of that massive consolidation, in most every single industry.
    The Top 3 Big Asset Management firms alone (Vanguard, BlackRock, State Street) control OVER $20 trillion in corporate assets.
    The Top 10 control some $40-$50 trillion.
    These BAM’s quite literally control entire markets (not just in the U.S.), existing as market movers, and holding the shares (by proxy) to control CEO’s and corporate Boards. Thus they often dictate corporate governance.
    And ownership of each is highly-convoluted, with many serving as the largest shareholders of each other, like a true Cartel.
    This Cartel has created covert/virtual monopolies, as they often own the largest “competing” corporations, in most every single industry (source = SEC 13 d/f/g filings).

    Blackstone – the largest “alternative investment” management company, itself controlling ~$1 trillion in assets.
    They invest in companies, like G/O Media, then use that equity investment to control corporate governance, often forcing major changes, and/or the shuttering of truly “alternative” and/or possible “disruptive” independent voices.
    Blackstone is part of the Cartel mentioned above.
    Many have noted what appears to be Blackstone’s moves into creating a media & entertainment behemoth, via equity investments into smaller media companies (much like Gray has been doing to tv. Gray, like Blackstone, is largely owned/controlled by this Cartel above).

    The Hydra – The Lernaean Hydra is a serpentine water monster in Greek/Roman mythology. It had poisonous breath and blood so virulent that even its scent was deadly. The Hydra possessed many heads, for every head chopped off, the Hydra would regrow two heads.
    Heracles was finally able cut off all of the monster’s heads and burn the neck using a sword and fire.
    That modern Cartel of Largest Big Money Asset Management firms have become/created a capital-based monster similar to the Hydra. They essentially control entire markets, via control of most every single industry, via existing as the largest/controlling shareholders (i.e. the multiple “heads”).
    Where many people often call for the reigning-in of mega-corporations in specific industries like Google, Facebook, Amazon, JP Morgan Chase, etc; and those in Big Oil, Big Ag, Big Entertainment, Big Media, Big Chem, Big Politics, Big Everything (those that are essentially controlling most every aspect of our daily lives) – the fundamental problem exists that attempts to reign-in one or a few mega-corporations, and/or one or a few mega-industries, this Cartel of largest Big Asset Management firms will simply step back in & gain control of the new “heads” (i.e. like smaller companies as part of any breakup of those mega-corps) that will emerge from that attempt to dismantle those largest mega-corporations/mega-industries.

    What we’re left with is fewer true choices, and little to no true independence.
    Smaller (independent) companies that try to emerge in most any industry (like media) are confronted & often overpowered by this Hydra of covert monopolies that has been created by that Cartel of largest Big Asset Management firms.
    They will be gobbled up, or eventually destroyed.

    Clear as mud?
    The true on-goings of life are often vastly more complicated that quick snippets, headlines, narratives, convenient blurbs, etc.
    And the more that more things come under control of this Hydra of Big Money, the lesser true info & knowledge will be revealed to the masses, whose attention spans continue to diminish, and whom have become increasingly reliant/dependent on those highly-reductionist narratives.
    Life has increasingly become like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (I won’t explain that here, so go look it up & read for yourself).

    With that, I’m out!

  22. grudznick 2023-11-12

    I bet Ms. Mammal makes a mean hashbrown casserole.

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