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Will Leitch Discusses Deadspin’s Downfall



One of the world’s most influential websites has gone silent. Last week the entire editorial staff at Deadspin resigned, rather than follow a “stick to sports” mandate from ownership. Over its 14 years of existence, Deadspin never “stuck to sports,” which is one of the things that made it so popular.

Will Leitch was the founding editor of Deadspin when it launched in 2005. He’s a native of Mattoon, and a University of Illinois graduate. Illinois Public Media’s Brian Moline spoke with Leitch about Deadspin’s downfall, and what he was trying to build when he started the site fourteen years ago.

"The idea was always to have a website that looked at sports from a critical eye would be one way to put it, I would say more of an affable skepticism," Leitch said.

Leitch wrote a pair of articles about the site's demise over the last week. The first was for his personal newsletter, which laid out his personal feelings about the site's death. The second, for New York magazine, described what he thinks could come next for Deadspin.

"If they want to get risky with it, and actually have some ambition and vision for it, which I will confess is not something I necessarily see as an arrow that this particular company has in its quiver," Leitch said, "I'd love to see some ambitious, young kid go out and try to reinvent sports journalism the way Deadspin did 14 years ago."

In addition, Moline and Leitch discussed Illini football and men's basketball, which Leitch still follows closely despite living in Athens, Georgia. You can hear that conversation below: