John Cook Was Censored by Yahoo, Also: “Nick Denton Is Going to Win the Internet”


An interview with former-turned-current Gawker scribe John Cook — fresh out of Yahoo — had the following money quotes to deliver to his (former Radar co-worker) Jeff Bercovici at Daily Finance about Cook’s experience with writing original news for search engine monolith Yahoo’s news blog The Upshot and editor Andrew Golis. SHOTS FIRED:

First, Cook tells Bercovici that he was censored by Yahoo, having to kill both language in stories and stories themselves because Yahoo didn’t find them suitable for their readers. The first stripe of killed story was a reference to masturbating — *makes cross* — and one of the second was about White House staffers getting a 9 percent raise. Slightly prudish of Yahoo, no? (ANSWER: YES.) Cook continues:

“As Andrew mentioned, I really valued being able to write what I think without somebody worrying about whether it will upset somebody, or meets the sort of balancing test that newspapers apply to themselves,” Cook says. Also, he “I think [Gawker Media publisher] Nick Denton is going to win the Internet.

Wwhen reached for quote by Daily Finance, Golis issued a PR-friendly “We have nothing but respect for John as a reporter and a person and we wish him well,” but that’s certainly a change in tone from earlier today, when Golis noted that Cook “prefers the license Gawker gave him to add his opinions into his reporting to the scale and credibility Yahoo! News could offer,” which, if you didn’t notice, suggests a preference for less-significant and less-credible outlets, which is an indirect slight on Cook’s credibility as a reporter, which — if you read him (or work with him, as — full disclosure — I used to) you’d know is unimpeachable. It’s going to be fun to watch Cook doing what he does best, which is unrestrained investigative reporting, with all of the freedoms (like not being censored), resources (like money) and lack of the boundaries (like those against checkbook journalism) most other publications would restrain him and his stories from enjoying.