There's a great piece in the current issue of New York Magazine about Gawker, which is probably my favorite Web site and which I check at least 20 times a day. (I'm also a lowly commenter on the site. When I got approved, it was the highlight of my week).
Author Vanessa Grigoriadis brings up some interesting points about Gawker's form of snark reporting and the role it plays in the modern journalism industry:
"Consider the Gawker mind-fuck at a time of rapid deterioration of our industry: Young print journalists are depressed over the state of the industry and their inability to locate challenging work or a job with health insurance. Although the situation may not be as dire as they might imagine—a healthy magazine is constantly on the hunt for young writers, because it wants the fresh take on the world found only in the young, and because young writers tend to be cheap—they need a release, the daily dose of Schadenfreude offered by Gawker’s gallows humor, its ritualistic flogging of working journalists and relentless cataloguing of the industry’s fall (e.g., items like “New Republic Page Count Watch”). Though reading Gawker subtly reinforces their misery, they generate an emotional bond and soon begin to tip it with their own inside information..."
Anyway, the article is long, but fascinating (at least for nerdy people like me). It's well worth a read for anyone interested in current media.