Daniel Lavery and Jo Livingstone on bringing blogging back
The Stopgap wants to make reading on the internet fun again
Embedded is your essential guide to what’s good on the internet, written by Kate Lindsay and edited by Nick Catucci.
This one’s for all the writers who, like me, were too young and dumb to get any of their pitches accepted by The Toast. —Kate
Subscribe to Embedded where all my pitches get accepted.
I wrote on Monday that it feels like we’re at the end of a big digital media experiment. This experiment took what readers genuinely loved about the internet out of the hands of scrappy writers and creators and put it into the hands of executives in the VC and tech industries. What remained is unrecognizable—bullet-pointed explainers and tedious SEO bait that only managed to stoke nostalgia for the good old days.
But no matter how much people eulogize The Awl, Gawker, and their ilk, the websites of the early 2010s cannot exist (or, as we learned, be resurrected) in the current media environment.
The writers Daniel Lavery and Jo Livingstone have a different proposal: The Stopgap. The Stopgap is a rarity in 2023: a new media website. Launching today, it aims to bring back the spirit of beloved websites like The Toast—which Lavery co-founded in 2013 before the site shuttered in 2016—but with no aspirations of profitability. Instead, the pair hope the popularity of platforms like Patreon and Substack have normalized the practice of paying individuals for their work. The site will be made up of content from Lavery and Livingstone, as well as guest writers who will embed their Venmo or PayPal codes alongside their pieces, giving readers the option to contribute. The goal is not to grow a vast media empire, but to carve out a small corner of the internet for the kind of writing and creativity that’s been sorely missed.
I hopped on a call with the pair last week after the news of The Stopgap first dropped on Twitter. As veterans of the industry’s bootstrap days, Lavery and Livingstone have a vital perspective on media’s last 10 years (AKA, one that isn’t just Ben Smith’s). In this interview for paid subscribers, we discuss the fundamental incompatibility of media and capitalism, what a new model for general interest blogs could look like, and how The Stopgap is aiming to make the internet fun again.