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Splinter, a Gawker Successor Focused on Politics, Is Shuttered

The fierce competition for political news online has claimed a once-promising newcomer.

Splinter, a political news website owned by G/O Media, which runs Gizmodo and Jezebel, ceased publication on Thursday.

In an email to the staff on Thursday morning, Paul Maidment, G/O Media’s editorial director, said the site would stop publishing new content. He said the company would aim to retain Splinter’s seven employees at its other sites.

“Despite the hard work of everyone on that staff, which has produced much outstanding journalism and great scoops, establishing a steady and sustainable audience for a relatively young site has proved challenging in a fiercely competitive sector,” Mr. Maidment wrote in the staff email, which was provided to The New York Times.

“Given that reality, the leadership team has taken the extremely difficult decision to cease the site’s operations and redistribute the head count to our other sites to increase the impact the editorial department can have overall.”

Splinter’s editor in chief, Aleksander Chan, confirmed the shutdown on Twitter.

Mr. Maidment said that G/O Media did not plan to reduce its network’s overall editorial work force.

But Hamilton Nolan, a senior writer for the site, told The Times that all the employees had been laid off. He said they received an email on Wednesday night summoning them to a Thursday morning meeting, where they were told about the decision.

“There was no formal warning,” he said.

Gizmodo Media Group Union put out a statement on Twitter saying that Splinter’s staff members were working with the Writers Guild of America East to negotiate severance payments.

“Splinter did the kind of fearless and adversarial journalism that represents the very best of our sites,” the union’s statement said. “This loss hurts, and we’re worse off for it — particularly in the lead-up to one of the most consequential elections of our lifetime.”

Splinter was introduced in 2017 as a rebranding of the news site Fusion, which was owned by Univision’s Fusion Media Group. It was part of a bundle of sites that were sold off after the demise of Gawker.

Splinter was seen as a politics-focused successor to Gawker and a competitor to similar digital media enterprises aimed at millennials, like BuzzFeed, Vice and Mic. But at times, Splinter struggled to find an audience, going back to before its rebranding.

Along with its sister sites, which included Gizmodo, Deadspin and Jezebel, Splinter was acquired by the private equity firm Great Hill Partners in April and renamed G/O Media. Jim Spanfeller, a former executive at Forbes.com, was named the chief executive of G/O Media in April.

Mr. Nolan, who started working at Gawker in 2008 and stayed with the company as it changed hands throughout the years, said the employees were meeting with the union on Thursday to plot their future.

“In general, I think that private equity firms that are owners of media companies are concerned about profits and not concerned about journalism,” Mr. Nolan said.

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