This would be a nasty end for any independent media property. For The Hairpin, it’s especially repulsive, because the site was the antithesis of a content mill. It never courted a huge audience or chased trending topics—it was a writer-led website that found an audience by being experimental and intimate and odd. It served as a launching pad for bona fide stars like former New York Times reporter Jazmine Hughes, Bojack Horseman designer Lisa Hanawalt, and New Yorker writer Jia Tolentino precisely because it valued nurturing fresh ideas—and letting people make jokes!—not optimizing revenue per click.
In an attempt to understand the future of media, I tracked down The Hairpin’s new owner—a Serbian DJ named Nebojša Vujinović Vujo. He says the site is just the latest title in his stable of over 2,000 websites and admits that the majority of the new posts on The Hairpin are indeed AI-generated. “I buy new websites almost every day,” he says.
How Beloved Indie Blog ‘The Hairpin’ Turned Into an AI Clickbait Farm - Wired