Gawker Media, which has spent the past few weeks embroiled in a scandal over a now-deleted controversial post on Gawker.com, has announced how it is planning on “growing up” — new hires, a new office, and a fresh editorial code.
Writing in a memo, Gawker founder Nick Denton said the “storm” surrounding the post, which accused a married rival media executive of seeking out the services of a male escort, has now “abated sufficiently for our internal soul-searching to begin.” The removal of the post, a decision taken by Denton, saw the resignation of two of its top editors.
After the passionate public argument of the last week, calm is restored enough to begin a real, civil dialogue. (And with the recent news on Hulk’s real secret, the motivations of our legal antagonist are beginning to emerge.)
This is an opportunity to be seized, our best shot as an independent media company supporting the freest journalists on the web. We will face up to celebrities and other public figures who use the courts and other pressure to suppress the truth; reinforce the existing church-state divide; establish a clearer standard of newsworthiness; inject some more humanity into Gawker.com; bring in more experienced executives, managers and editors; and refine our workplace culture; and continue. This is the next stage of our evolution.
Denton says Gawker president Heather Dietrick is now searching for a replacement for former executive editor Tommy Craggs, who resigned as a result of the post being removed. More details on interim editorial management will be announced later this week.
In a bid to “clearly define the church-state divide at Gawker Media” Denton says he is introducing a new policy that states an executive editor can now only be hired, fired, or overridden with the agreement of both the founder and president of the company. No business executives will participate in these decisions, and minutes of the discussions will be distributed within 30 days.
An internal dialogue about Gawker’s editorial code will begin in August among a group of employees, including representatives from its Writers Guild, Denton announced. Their recommendations will be put forward to larger groups later in the month, when the company’s new central auditorium is ready.
Gawker is moving to a new office on New York’s Fifth Avenue on Monday — coincidental timing for the company to announce what Denton is calling its “second act.”
Dietrick is also adding newsroom personnel and budgets to its legal, video, and audience development teams. Separately, Gawker also announced it has hired former Google executive Ian Fette as its chief technology officer.
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