Gawker Media owner Nick Denton Tweeted earlier this evening, asking if the rumors he’d heard about Business Insider editor John Carney’s firing were true. Well, Nick, here’s your answer: John Carney, managing editor of financial news and gossip vertical Clusterstock at Business Insider, was let go this afternoon by B.I. owner Henry Blodget, we’ve confirmed with sources familiar with the matter.
This…is going to take quite a few people by surprise. Nobody from the company we spoke with certainly saw it coming, either.
We’re told Carney was fired by Blodget this afternoon, and it was speculated that this was the result of the last few weeks of disagreements between Blodget, publisher Julie Hansen, and Carney over how to best run Business Insider: Blodget wanted more sensational, pageview-grabbing posts and click-friendly features like galleries, while Carney wanted to put forth breaking news scoops that told a longer narrative. It was also speculated that Carney, one of the highest paid members on the Business Insider staff, wasn’t bringing the traffic numbers to sufficiently satisfy Henry Blodget, given his high profile within the financial reporting world, but that Clusterstock’s homepage had the highest traffic of all the verticals at Business Insider during Carney’s tenure, and that his own stories generated “tons of [unique visitors].”
“Maybe Henry thought that the rewards for giving him the freedom he had didn’t pay out enough,” one source noted. “But the good will, the connections Carney had, we’re going to have a hard time compensating for that kind of thing. How can you?”
For the record, this is the second high-profile firing of a major New York news site lead editor in a little over a month; Gabriel Snyder was replaced as Editor-in-Chief of Gawker by Nick Denton last month when Gawker Media acquired Remy Stern’s site CityFile, and Stern along with it.
Carney started at Business Insider in September, 2008 when he left finance gossip site Dealbreaker, where he enjoyed a pretty solid tenure of scooping stories from under the mainstream financial press. At Business Insider, Carney further became a visible presence, hitting the finance TV news circuit regularly (even this morning, as he appeared on MSNBC’s Fast Money CNBC’s The Call). His last post for Business Insider came at about 2PM, which is consistent with the timeline we’ve heard. Incidentally, we actually linked to one of Carney’s posts this afternoon, a screed on how government trying to fix Wall Street through regulatory reforms is futile, mostly, Carney argued, because the culture of that world is so deeply embedded within it.