Defector is an employee-owned sports and culture website.
We write about sports, politics, TV, movies, science, weird shit that happens on the internet, and anything else that catches our attention, because we believe that a good publication is one that reflects the genuine interests and obsessions of its staff.
We started this company because media is fucked now. We want to be a website that you will actually want to read. We hope to give you a publication that exists not just as a name that occasionally pops up in your various social media feeds, but as a daily destination. We aren’t here to gratify ourselves or churn out “content,” a word wholly devoid of ideas and values, but to create good work that will earn your loyal readership.
We're a subscription-based business. Our goal is to create a financially stable and independent publication that exists for reasons beyond squeezing out profits for some people in a boardroom, or fattening itself up for an acquisition. We hope you'll join us.
Our Founding Story
Many of us used to work at Deadspin, the sports website at G/O Media (formerly Gizmodo Media Group, and before that Gawker Media). In October of 2019, new private equity ownership took over and tried to make us “stick to sports''—despite that violating the very spirit of Deadspin—and fired deputy editor Barry Petchesky on the spot. In response, the rest of the editorial staff quit in solidarity. The story of the mass resignation made national news, garnering coverage from the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, NPR, the Guardian, New York magazine, the New Yorker, and tweets of solidarity from Senators Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker.
Eighteen former Deadspin staffers, plus one new business guy, decided to launch Defector as a worker cooperative to shield ourselves and future employees from the travails of private equity ownership. We started publishing in September 2020, and things have gone pretty well since then.