My new two favorite websites lately: Defamer and Gawker. Both are well worth five-minute visits on a daily basis. The authors of both sites are young twenty-somethings: hip, hilarious, dramatically sarcastic, mocking and most importantly – talented. There’s no better place to find up-to-the-minute gossip about trainwrecks and laughingstocks like Lindsey Lohan, Tom Cruise or Christian Slater, all whom have recently bore the brunt of the razor-sharp Gawker pen. In particular, Gawker’s coverage of the now offically insane Tom Cruise has had me laughing out loud over the past week.

Anyway, the two sites are basically sister sites – same idea, different coasts. Gawker fights out of the red corner, representing New York City and Defamer fights out of the blue corner, representing the ever-so-self-important Los Angeles. I don’t know much about either of the authors, except that a female named Jessica Coen actually writes Gawker, which I would have never guessed. Knowing that fact, for some reason, makes me blush when I read some of the rather saucy commentary. I believe there’s also a gay guest writer who pens a semi-weekly piece called “The Gawker Stalker,” which details celebrity sightings around town – always an enjoyable read for its biting commentary.

The reason I point this out is not just because people flock to these sites, which they do. There is a gentleman roaming the streets by the name of Nick Denton who may or may not be building himself a blog empire called Gawker Media. Basically his idea is to centralize several blogs, two of which are the aforementioned Gawker and Defamer, sell advertising around the blog content, and try to make a living being, essentially, the world’s first media company powered strictly by blogs. As I understand it, the writers are all compensated, provided they post enough content on a daily basis. I can’t imagine these folks are rich. However, it’s a neat idea and it appears to be working, if only on a small scale for now.

Mr. Denton’s been featured in the New York Times and other major publications and has been labeled a pioneer, although he’ll flatly deny it each time. This whole thing is just another example of how fast our world is changing and how media continues its march toward something completely different. While the Gawker’s and Defamer’s of the world aren’t exactly news, it’s not hard to envision a time when someone will be the Nick Denton of serious news. Arianna Huffington is currently trying to be that “someone” but in my eyes, it’s just not working out. Her attempt at online media involves one single site where seemingly hundreds of people, some well-known, write about their feelings. While largely centered on politics and current events, the whole thing seems too overwhelming and self-important, despite the occasional well-written diatribe here and there. The problem is you really have to work to unearth the gems and who has time to do that?

Regardless, as with all other things internet, these kind of things really fascinate me. Gawker Media isn’t just Gawker and Defamer, either, by the way. The excellent Gizmodo provides insights and reviews of the seemingly trillions of electronic gadgets (PDA’s, cell phones, etc) that are being released on a weekly basis. Perhaps the most famous of Gawker’s writers today is Wonkette, who operates out of Washington DC and specializes in skewering both political parties and the people who run our country. As you might imagine, lots of easy targets there! All in all, I think the Gawker Media collective have about 13 or 14 different sites/blogs, so it seems there’s something in there for everyone. Rock on, Beavis.