Founded in 2002, Gawker is the flagship blog for Nick Denton's Gawker Media; They spawned other blogs including Wonkette, covering Washington, D.C., Defamer, covering Los Angeles, and Valleywag covering Silicon Valley.
On September 28, 2006, Coen announced in a post on Gawker that she would be leaving the site to become deputy online editor at Vanity Fair. Balk then shared the site with co-editor Emily Gould. Associate editor Maggie Shnayerson also began writing for the site; she replaced Doree Shafrir, who left in September 2007 for the New York Observer.
In February 2007, Sicha returned from his position at The New York Observer, and replaced Mohney as the Managing Editor.
On September 21, 2007, Gawker announced that Balk would depart to edit Radar magazine's website, he will be replaced by Wonkette's Alex Pareene.
On November 30, 2007, managing editor Choire Sicha and editor Emily Gould announced at the end of a post on the site that they were quitting. Another editor, Joshua David Stein, quit later that day.
The literary journal n+1 had published a long piece on the history and future of Gawker, which concluded: "You could say that as Gawker Media grew, from Gawker’s success, Gawker outlived the conditions for its existence.
On January 2, 2008, after the departure of Sicha, Gould, and Stein, Nick Denton, the owner of Gawker Media, Gawker's parent corporation, announced that he was installing himself as the Managing Editor of Gawker. As of January 5, 2008, most of his editorial decisions (including the firing of a columnist) have been met with substantial negative comments on the site from the readership. Some long-time commenters even departed the site with the change in leadership, dissatisfied with the current way the site is run and the quality of the postings.
On July 3, 2006, when publisher Nick Denton replaced Jesse Oxfeld with Alex Balk, Oxfeld claimed it was an attempt to make the blog more mainstream and less media-focused, ending a tradition of heavy media coverage at Gawker.
The feature has drawn criticism from celebrities and publicists for encouraging stalking, and George Clooney rep Stan Rosenfeld called Gawker Stalker "a dangerous thing." Jessica Coen has said that the map is harmless, that Gawker readers are "for the most part, a very educated, well-meaning bunch," and that "if there is someone really intending to do a celebrity harm, there are much better ways to go about doing that than looking at the Gawker Stalker."
On September 17, 2008, Gawker published screenshots of emails from the personal email account of Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Unauthorized access to personal email accounts is a federal crime, however the perpetrators may only be prosecuted for reading 'unopened' emails due to DOJ interpretation of the decision in Theofel v. Farey-Jones FBI Spokesman Eric Gonzalez in Anchorage, Alaska confirms that an investigation is underway.