We’re Feeling Gossipy Right Now


Hi pals. It’s your friendly creator ecosystem newsletter publisher James Del here. Due to some team head colds, a few technical hexes, and the fact that I’m currently helping to load my friend’s band into the legendary Fillmore Theater in San Francisco for a show tonight, we’re keeping this one tight (unlike my usual work here). 

But first, a shameless plug while I’m sitting under a photo of Bill Graham: Check out my friend’s band Winnetka Bowling League, and come hang on tour this summer along with comedy creators like Veronika Slowikowska, Caroline Baniewicz, and Stef Dag, plus musicians Emi Grace, Akira Galaxy, and Darryl Rahn! It’s gonna be a thing!

Anyway, I was at The Information’s Creator Economy Summit earlier this week, the panels were good but the gossip was better. Get enough industry professionals, journalists, and creatives in a room and there’s bound to be some trash talk, lots of “did you hear” and “you didn’t hear this from me.” I personally live for this kind of thing, and based on my recent conversations with y’all, you folks dig gossip too.

Gossip cuts both ways, and I suppose it’s a worthy endeavor to explain the difference between “good” gossip and “bad” gossip, imho. At its best, good gossip is truthful/valuable information that, for whatever reason, can’t be shared or acquired openly without causing harm, so the information travels from “person who knows” to “person who should know” through whisper networks. 

This is where you get “poorly kept secrets” that eventually spill into public view, usually because sources and publications (like this one) are interested in publishing information that the public wants/needs but can’t get. When we talk about the information economy, gossip sits at the foundation of all verified information, and it’s that good gossip that journalists mine and refine into stories. Here’s an example of some good gossip that recently turned into a Passionfruit story about Minecraft server mods being overworked, this was so good that a French labor union is investigating.

Bad gossip, to me, is the kind of information that, for whatever reason, is shared or acquired with the intent to cause harm. Axes to grind, scorned partners, a little light defamation…we as a publication are less interested in that flavor of gossip, though that’s not to say having an ax to grind is an immediate signifier of bad gossip. In those murky instances, it’s up to journalists to try and untangle the personal malintent from the malignant information.


We all traffic and transact in gossip and information, though the real yeoman’s work is in turning unverified gossip or rumor into verified, multi-sourced news stories. It takes time, energy, and money to do it well, but most importantly it takes the raw material gossip being shared with journalists in order for us to do that work. That’s where you come in.

You’ve heard us say it before in less explicit terms, but we’re going to get explicit this time. Send us your f’kin tips! Secrets! Gossip! Platforms who don’t pay their invoices on time, possible child labor violations, creepy creators, insolvent companies…we’re here to take the good gossip that gets bandied about in our creator ecosystem and turn it into news that you can use.

So! If you have a story, or a rumor, or any kind of idea that you think could use some journalistic firepower behind it in order to make our ecosystem more sustainable, equitable, accountable, and transparent, we want to hear about it. Reply to this (or any!) of our emails, or hit us up at tips@fragmnt.com with your scuttlebutt.

Importantly, if you want to email us and the information you have is especially sensitive (IE, you could get in trouble if that information got traced back to you), tell us that first and wait for us to respond before you spill your guts in an email. 

“Off the record” is only honored by journalists when both sides agree to it prior to information being shared. If you send us an email filled with juicy gossip without confirming that we understand the sensitivity of what you want to share first, we could move forward with it without the proper source protections in place.

This advice goes for talking to any journalist, not just us, so make sure you understand the rules first, then start dishing!


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