When Raju Narisetti worked as managing editor of The Post from 2009 to 2012, he guided the merger of the newspaper’s print and digital operations. That was a slog, considering that the two parts of The Post had long been separated by a river, not to mention by sensibilities and various squabbles.
He moved on to serve as managing editor of the the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and from there to News Corp.’s senior vice president of strategy — a job in which he oversaw properties such as the Wall Street Journal, the Times of London, Harper-Collins, Realtor.com and Storyful.
Who knows whether all that experience will prepare Narisetti for what’s next — chief executive of the Gizmodo Media Group. The what? That’s right, the Gizmodo Media Group, which is the new name for Gawker Media. It’s six websites — Gizmodo, Deadspin, Jezebel, Jalopnik, Kotaku and Lifehacker — that make up nearly the entire portfolio of the Gawker assemblage under the former direction of Nick Denton. That mini-empire changed hands after Hulk Hogan — with the generous funding of Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel — sued Gawker for invasion of privacy over the site’s publication of a clip from a sex tape. A $140 million jury judgment in Florida sent the properties into bankruptcy. Univision gobbled them up at a price of $135 million, though it declined to purchase Gawker.com because of its reputation for throwing haymakers at undeserving targets. The flagship site stopped publishing as a result.
Marvel at the bureaucracy: Narisetti’s Gizmodo Media Group is a unit of the Fusion Media Group, which is part of Univision Communications, Inc. In a canned statement, Univision chief of News, Digital and Entertainment Isaac Lee said that Narisetti has all the requirements to nurture the former Gawker media websites. And in his own statement, Narisetti said, “As part of Univision, we will now be more ambitious in deepening, broadening and sensibly scaling the passionate digital communities that Gizmodo, Jezebel, Deadspin, Kotaku, Jalopnik and Lifehacker have attracted, by offering accurate, responsible, edgy and engaging journalism, as well as through relevant, related content and commerce.”
“Edgy,” huh? Some of those “edgy” stories Univision has already chucked to the curb. As reported first by Gizmodo, Univision disappeared six stories that were “the subject of pending litigation against the prior owners. At this time of transition, the decision was based on a desire to have a clean slate as we look to support and grow the editorial missions of the acquired brands,” said a statement from Univision. John Cook, the executive editor of the group of sites, objected to their removal but was outvoted by Univision principals.
In an interview with Gizmodo journalist (and former Gawker journalist) J.K. Trotter, Lee admitted that he hadn’t “thoroughly” read the six posts. Exclamation point right there. Read that very long interview, which will someday serve as an important case in point about how corporate culture clashes get resolved or reduce everything to rubble. “Nothing that I will say in this interview should give anyone the level of trust that they need in order to know that we are going to do everything that they expect us to do. Deeds speak louder than words,” Lee told Trotter.