First cab off the rank: Sam Biddle, Senior Writer at Gawker, moves to The Intercept

In his attempts to sue Gawker Media out of existence, billionaire Peter Thiel may have just made it a little harder to pin critical Gawker…

First cab off the rank: Sam Biddle, Senior Writer at Gawker, moves to The Intercept

In his attempts to sue Gawker Media out of existence, billionaire Peter Thiel may have just made it a little harder to pin critical Gawker writers down.

The first candidate: Sam Biddle, a Senior Writer for Gawker, and the former editor of ValleyWag and Gizmodo. He announced on Twitter that he would be moving to The Intercept in July:

Soon after Biddle’s announcement on Twitter The Intercept’s Editor-in-Chief, Betsy Reed, announced the news on their site, saying that:

Biddle will be focusing on the themes we care about — the need to hold powerful institutions accountable, the ways in which technology can undermine privacy — in a realm that has not received enough adversarial coverage: Silicon Valley.

Reed also had an interesting take on Peter Thiel’s ‘retaliatory lawsuits’ against Gawker:

The Intercept, which was founded with the backing of eBay entrepreneur and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar, was built on the principle that we’d have ample resources to defend our First Amendment freedoms, and thus be able to responsibly report on any power center or industry without fear while at the same time enjoying full editorial independence. That framework has enabled us to commit to ramping up the kind of public interest reporting on the tech industry that may not always please its subjects, but which we believe is more vital than ever.

Gawker Media’s editorial boss John Cook also commented on the departure in a sweet internal memo:

Maybe Allison and I named our middle son after Sam Biddle, maybe we didn’t. You don’t need to know. But the two Sams — watch them in action here — make similar demands on my love. They are puckish, emotionally manipulative, charming, scatalogically fixated, hilarious, and resilient. They swing from dark to light with liberating ease, constantly aware that our highs and lows are always leavened by an insistent reality, never completely surrendering to cloying contentedness or existential dread (or, in my little Sam’s case, existential crankiness).
I will always have my little Sam, but we are losing Our Little Sam. He’s off to the Intercept, the newsletter for Ralph Nader’s national network of Public Interest Research Groups, to cover technology.
There will be time for roasts, for best-of posts, for encomia. I’ll just say I am proud and devastated. You can trace in Sam’s career here — from a Gizmodo intern in 2010 to one of the most beloved and attacked voices in journalism — the entire late history of the internet. The thrill of newfound freedom, the child-like glee of trying on new voices, the ongoing calibration of emerging authority, the curdling of unlimited free expression into endless serial mob outrages. Sam lived all of that, and he did it in service to the idea of Gawker, best exemplified by his tour of duty at Valleywag, where he fearlessly and wittily called bullshit on all manner of very expensive and very well-defended hype. Nobody else was doing it, so he did it.
That fearlessness was not without its costs, and I don’t blame Sam, after the battles he’s been drawn into, for looking fondly on a job that isn’t also a constant high-wire act. For what it’s worth, his decision to move up a dozen or so floors to the top of this tower, where First Look Media sits, predated Friday’s news of a forthcoming sale of the company. Six years is a long time, and he has earned the right to look us all in the eye and say goodbye.
The experience of the last year has made me very proud to have collected the enemies we have irked — Peter Thiel, Donald Trump, and their allies. It has also made me very proud of the friends we have, Sam chief among them. He’ll be missed.

While Biddle wrote a letter to his colleagues:

Dear Gawker family —
My first job at this company six years ago was the first real job I’ve ever had (which explains a lot right?) and it’s been the most rewarding part of my life since. But although sometimes I’ve assumed I would work here until I die, before being placed into an enormous ornate crypt with Nick and John, blog years are sort of like dog years, and after six, I’m leaving Gawker later this month. The good news is I’m just moving upstairs to The Intercept, so you’ll probably still be able to hear my extremely loud and annoying laugh from inside the building. The bad is that I’m leaving a company that’s become like my family and best friends since 2010, through extremely thick and extremely thin. I’m going to miss every single one of you because there is simply nowhere like here.
I want all of you to know that my decision predates Friday’s turmoil and even the Hogan verdict by months, and I can’t overstate how much I still believe in this place and its importance. Working at Gawker was my dream when I first knew I wanted to write for a living, and sometimes I still can’t believe that it not only came true, but that I got to live it with people like you — insane, insanely funny, extremely smart, and unstoppable. I’m always in disbelief that I’ve had a job where we get to basically laugh all day, every day, while at the same time telling amazing stories and providing a critical eye where no one else would look. It’s just time for me to take a next step.
When I’ve felt exhausted or discouraged over the years, all I’ve needed to do is look at the writers and editors next to me, and it’s enough to feel thrilled and determined again. I know that I’ll be able to look to you all for that same kind of reminder and courage no matter when and where we are.
your friend,
ps please don’t start putting me in #badtweets immediately, no matter how much I deserve it

While the Gawker bankruptcy may have had a part in the timing of Biddle’s departure, the decision had been, according to Recode:

made well before the Hogan trial verdict or the Friday filing…

Moving back to the rumour side of things, there were other equally suspect signs that Biddle would be moving on from In recent weeks he had updated his website pretty extensively, while also looking back fondly on his days at ValleyWag.

There was also a funny little conversation in the comments section of Gawker’s bankruptcy ‘Note From Your Editor’ post, which I somehow remembered for this post:

At the time I brushed it off as bad Kinja speculation, but apparently sometimes you should believe what you read in a comments section.