Having gone to school at Eastern Illinois University in the late 90s, early 2000s, and working sports for the local Charleston radio station, Will Leitch popped up on my radar early in his career. Before “the break” with Deadspin. We orbited the same circles at just slightly different paths in Coles County.
Will had ambition and pursued it. He caught his break nationally in 2005. That was the same year I found my home covering local sports here in Fairfield, after working for three radio stations, a TV station and my hometown paper for a spell throughout college and shortly after. I was content with where I landed. Will went much, much bigger.
I read Deadspin early on because Will started it. It was just enough of a local connection to make me a regular early, a fan. It was part of my life, regularly. And then it became DEADSPIN!
Witnessing the Deadspin debacle this week has been saddening, as both a fan and a journalist. Seeing what money men have destroyed reminds me of my time in, and surrounded by, the papers owned by American/Liberty/Gatehouse/Future Accounting Conglomerate To Be Named Later in my area. This path of journalism is one reason I now sell IT equipment to the government, even if I was working for one of the few decent, family owned papers around still.
Watching the solidarity of the staff and their defiant exodus was saddening at first, heartening as it grew. It gives a guy pride, even when that guy was just a reader.
So, when Will tweeted out his newsletter with his thoughts on the Death of Deadspin, I could not click fast enough. Give it a read. Time is important and this is worth the time.
I thank Will for having the vision to do what he did, and for allowing it to grow beyond him, even if he does undersell himself in the article linked above.