Jezebel to Be Resurrected by Paste Magazine

Jezebel, the famed feminist website, is set to return less than a month after it was shuttered.

Paste Magazine, a music and culture outlet, acquired Jezebel on Tuesday and planned to start publishing on the site again as soon as Wednesday, said Josh Jackson, a co-founder and the editor in chief of Paste.

“The idea of there not being a Jezebel right now just didn’t seem to make sense,” Mr. Jackson said.

Jezebel, once part of the Gawker universe of websites, brought a brash new kind of internet writing to feminist issues when it was introduced in 2007, paving the way for a generation of like-minded outlets. In 2019, the private equity firm Great Hill Partners bought Jezebel as part of what is now called G/O Media, a portfolio of digital news outlets that includes Gizmodo, Deadspin and The Root.

But on Nov. 9, G/O Media’s chief executive, Jim Spanfeller, said that Jezebel would shut down and that 23 people would be laid off because of “economic headwinds.”

“Unfortunately, our business model and the audiences we serve across our network did not align with Jezebel’s,” he wrote in the memo to staff.

The website’s closure prompted numerous obituaries expounding on Jezebel’s impact on the internet and culture.

Mr. Spanfeller added in his note that G/O Media had spoken with more than two dozen potential buyers of Jezebel, but had not been able to reach a deal. Mr. Jackson said he had not considered purchasing the site until he learned about its closure. As part of the deal, Paste also bought Splinter, the political news website that G/O Media shut down in 2019.

Mr. Jackson declined to comment on how much his company had paid for the two sites, though he said it was an all-cash deal. The Daily Beast earlier reported that a handful of buyers were interested in resurrecting the website.

“We have been working on the sale of Jezebel for months and are delighted that it has found a new home,” Mr. Spanfeller said in a statement.

Mr. Jackson said neither Jezebel nor Splinter had any employees, so he was aiming to first find an editor in chief for Jezebel and then hire writers.

“I’ve talked to a couple of former Jezebel people,” he said.

Mr. Jackson and two friends started Paste in Atlanta in 1998. It operated as a print music magazine from 2002 to 2010, when it became digital only. Paste was acquired in 2011 by the music retailer Wolfgang’s Vault, now known as Wolfgang’s. The magazine is 100 percent advertising-supported.

“We’ve gone through all the different changes in the media landscape and stayed independent and have survived and thought, ‘Hey, maybe we can do this with other sites as well,’” he said.

Mr. Jackson said his hope for Jezebel was “to bring all of the best things from all of the eras” of the website. He referred to its original tagline (“Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth.”) and said one of the first things he wanted to bring back was “with teeth.”

“I want them to push the boundaries,” Mr. Jackson said. “I think there are advertisers out there who have the courage to go to where the audience is.”

“I think of it as the quintessential site for millennial women who grew up on this, and it’s a site that taught them what they could be,” he added. “And I want the same for Gen Z, and to bring in Gen Z voices.”

As for Splinter, Mr. Jackson said he planned to relaunch that website in 2024, and “to have it ready for a very important political year.”

You may also like...