Drama rocked the tabloid news website Gawker last week when half the editorial staff abruptly resigned. The news came to readers through an initially unassuming post on the website by editor Emily Gould, who addressed at length an essay about Gawker in the new issue of literary magazine n + 1 before divulging news of her departure, along with managing editor Choire Sicha. (It was later learned that a third editor, Joshua Stein, had also resigned.) This is Sicha’s second time quitting Gawker, having returned to the site in February after a hiatus at The New York Observer. Speaking to the Times, Nick Denton, publisher of Gawker Media, acknowledged that “Choire’s departure as managing editor, and that of his blogger protégés, will obviously be a complete pain.” So folks, mystery solved on that inhuman screeching you may have heard echoing up from Spring Street; that's just the sound of Denton's complete pain.

Emily Gould’s resignation post on Gawker quoted your friend's email impressions of Keith Gessen's new book, which your friend described as “SUCH a cautionary tale.... To me it's screaming *Get out of NY before it's too late*!!” What on earth is this cultural decline of which your friend speaks? [Laughs] It’s a good question. The decline of New York is seen in careerist social climbing. It’s seen in people who call or email us to ask, “Can you give me advice about my career?” And my advice is: “Maybe you should go write something exciting!”

But hasn’t that always been New York - Sure, people move to New York and scheme but it’s weird if you think back to the era of Tama Janovitz and Bret Easton Ellis coming to New York and thinking, “I’m going to write a novel that knocks socks off!” At the time people probably thought they were transparent social climbers but they were actually sitting in their apartments trying to come up with a book that would knock people’s socks off! I don’t know. Maybe the Dana Vachons and whoever are the same way.

In the New York Magazine cover story, you’re quoted as saying: “Not a week goes by I don't want to quit this job, because staring at New York this way makes me sick.” How did Nick Denton react to that? He’s sort of promulgating that more and more right now. I know he sees my quitting as like my own “existential crisis” in his words, when really, I just don’t like being management. I’ve always been a whiny little girl.

But because Emily and Josh resigned simultaneously it seems there’s more to the story than just your dissatisfaction with being a manager. Wasn’t there some big final confrontation with smashed laptops and bloggers tossed through Balthazar's windows? Oh my God, that would be so awesome, I wish it had been that dramatic. No, I mean, we’ve both been doing this for a good while. No one’s had the strength of a Jessica Coen who lasted two years, I think. I only lasted exactly one year the first time around and that was pretty low-impact back them. I’ve always said it’s not a job people should do for very long.

Why is that? I quit the first time because I was kind of sold out. I realized I knew too many of the people I was writing about. And the second time around I realized I didn’t really care; that didn’t really matter.

After leaving Gawker, Jessica Coen wrote in Glamour: “I never thought I’d say this, but the unmitigated and unintelligent nastiness has to end—on MySpace, over e-mail, on blogs and everywhere else.” Do you think internet nastiness was as prevalent before Gawker and Gawker just gave it a voice and taught readers how to make meanness funny? No, the internet's always been nasty. It’s just maybe a little more codified and centralized thanks to Gawker.

How did you feel about the New York Magazine profile in terms of its overall depiction of Gawker? It was fine. I like Vanessa [Grigoriadis, author of the article] a lot; I think she’s really smart. I would like some day to read her original version of the piece. I think it got sort of mangled in edits. I think they were interested in schadenfreude and I would have liked to have heard more of Vanessa’s original take.

It was weird though because that article seemed like the sort of thing Gawker would usually have a field day with, but it went unacknowledged on the site.
I wrote a couple of posts about it and they didn’t really seem worth publishing.

Why not? There really wasn’t anything to add. I should go back and look but it just seemed so long and overblown. And I don’t think our readers really care. I think they’d really rather hear about something that isn’t about this website.

Really? Because it seems there’s a bit of a cult of personality when I read the comments. People seem pretty enthralled with the different writers and who their favorites are on Gawker. I don’t really care about that. Commenters are a pretty small part of the overall audience. Some of them are really informative and I like reading some of them. I was reading comments from one of the small items yesterday and some of the comments were from people who really had experience with the topic and I got a lot out of it. But when Gawker’s operating correctly it should be mostly a news site. And while I really kind of love the sort of meta and ridiculous transparency thing where we talk about ourselves or we talk about quitting or what work is like, while it’s interesting in a conceptual way it’s not that interesting in a news-delivering way. [Laughs.] I’ve gotten all serious now, goddamnit!

Okay, let’s try to keep it light here. What’s the biggest misconception people have about Gawker?
I don’t know. I think any misconceptions are entirely our fault so I hate to harp on any of them because they’re all our own doing.

Are there any Gawker posts you regret? I don’t know that I regret anything. I know I’ve definitely done misinformed or knee-jerk things. But I think it’s important not to regret anything.

What was one of the posts you thought was misinformed. There are tons. I’m trying to think. The problem is that you get up in the morning and you realize you’re twenty minutes late so you have to write a couple things fast before you have coffee and who’s not going to suffer from that? There are a couple every week I’m sure are totally jackass and stupid.

Their new pay-per-page-view system: yay or nay? I think I’m one of the few who’s really in favor of it, essentially. Conceptually what paying people for their traffic does is it puts income in the hands of the worker; it puts control of the income, in some slightly messy way, in the hands of the people actually doing the writing. I think that’s actually kind of a huge advance. I don’t know if it’ll bear out entirely in practice but conceptually I think it’s a great idea.

I wonder though how someone like you, who would be the managing editor, arbitrates who gets the hot juicy post of the morning?
Well, the thing is there’s always a hot juicy post on any beat, you know what I mean? In any news organization I feel like anyone can win, whether you’re in the Metro section or the Business section, there’s always a way to gain readers for a story. The fact of the matter is I write posts that get incredibly low traffic because my interests are really sort of boring or obscure or weird. If you look at traffic numbers I perform pretty poorly. [Laughs.]

Have you considered starting your own website with your ex-Gawker colleagues, perhaps a kinder, gentler Gawker? Wouldn’t a kinder, gentler Gawker be hideously unreadable? No, we never talked about that. It would be hysterical but we haven’t.

Have the job offers started rolling in? What are you considering?
I think it’s possible to freelance and possibly, like, have time to exercise during the course of the week, maybe? One of the things with a desk job like this is you get fat in the winter and I can’t tolerate fat anymore at my age. I’m too single and too old to get fat right now. I don’t mean to be fat-phobic either; fat is okay. Fat phobia is a great affliction in New York City.

Where would you like to be this time next year? My big plan this winter was to go to Miami or something. That’s not working out very well.

Why not?
I don’t know. You get sort of trapped in New York, don’t you? Though there is sort of a nice exodus to Los Angeles going on right now. Even former Village Voice nightlife queen Trisha Romano is moving to Los Angeles.

Makes sense; I was there a couple months ago. A buddy of mine lives downtown, which has some of the raw excitement that parts of now-gentrified Brooklyn had years ago. Yeah, L.A.’s got a lot going on but I sort of feel like I can’t move there, partly because I grew up there. But I wish I could move to L.A., where it’s sunny and vapid but also secretly a little bit “New Yorky” at heart.

Where do you see Gawker a year from now? I think Gawker will be better. I definitely think Gawker will be in good shape a year from now. It’s an amazing job and a great opportunity and I know they’ll get someone smart and ideally it’ll be a pretty tight tabloid news site.

Photo via Blaise K's Flickr.