SBD/January 21, 2011/Media

A.J. Daulerio Tests Journalism Boundaries While Raising Deadspin's Profile

Deadspin's Favre story has generated 5 million pages views to date
Deadspin.com Editor A.J. Daulerio "has been redefining" where to draw the line with sports journalism, and then "crashing over it," according to Gabriel Sherman of GQ. Daulerio's "tactics -- reporting rumors, paying for news, and making Deadspin's money on stories that are really about sex, not sports -- are questionable," but his "success is not." When he became editor of the site in July '08, it had 700,000 readers per month; now it has 2.3 million. A "dogged reporter who works the phones all day, he's also willing to go to some dark and seedy places." The site's story about Brett Favre's relationship with former Jets employee Jenn Sterger has "generated 5 million page views to date -- and plenty of debate about the TMZ-ization of sports journalism." Will Leitch, the Founding Editor of Deadspin and "one of Daulerio's closest friends, has gotten a little queasy." In July '09, when Daulerio "posted a link to the Erin Andrews stalker video, Leitch thought he went too far." The two "remain close but no longer talk about Deadspin." Leitch said that he "wouldn't have published the Favre photos." He added, "I never wanted people to feel like they needed to take a shower." Still, Sherman notes posts like that "coexist with legitimate investigative journalism." Daulerio, who earns "about $100,000 a year," receives roughly 200 e-mails a day, a "steady stream of tips about athletes, sports executives, and media personalities getting drunk, getting laid, and getting stupid." Even author Buzz Bissinger, who infamously "shredded Leitch for Deadspin's tone and journalistic standards" during Bob Costas' HBO show, is "volunteering to work for Daulerio." Bissinger: "I have to say, I like what he's doing. He's breaking stories. ... In terms of the Costas thing, I now twitter all the time and people go, 'You're just like Deadspin.' My response is, 'Well, yeah, I am. The world changes.'" Daulerio said that he "has no plans to leave Deadspin." He wants to "continue to grow the site and has expanded beyond sports with a general-interest offshoot called Deadspin XY" (GQ, 2/ '11 issue).
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