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The Voice of the People (in the Commentariat)

Illustration for article titled The Voice of the People (in the Commentariat)

“A new [Gawker Media], the chains of the masses untied
A new [Gawker Media], the voice of the people
Cannot be denied” ♬

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As reported by Business Insider this morning, Gawker founder Nick Denton has announced changes coming to the organization, and what we can expect as Gawker “grows up”:

“After the passionate public argument of the last week, calm is restored enough to begin a real, civil dialogue....

“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.”

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This comes, coincidentally with Gawker’s impending move to new, larger headquarters; a fresh start in many ways. In addition, Denton’s placed a goal date for a new editorial manual (next month), which will leave less potential missteps to chance.

One might think he’d actually read the lengthy discussions on this page last week, because the consensus, almost unanimously, was that Gawker needed to grow up, needed to “bring in more experienced executives, managers and editors” and recapture its best features. If he did read these pages, he clearly listened.

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One thing nobody wanted to hear this morning (which had been raised as a trial balloon last week) was that the site would be re-named. That is not happening.

Maybe Nick Denton, as I suggested last week, really became the grown up himself, maybe he read - or listened to - the large community we like to call the Commentariat, thus producing a blueprint for how to right the ship and keep the audience on board.

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As BI explained,

“An internal dialogue about Gawker’s editorial code will begin in August among a group of employees, including representatives from its Writers Guild, Denton said. Their recommendations will be put forward to larger groups later in the month when the company’s new central auditorium is ready.”

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I’d add that it would serve the company well to invite members of the Commentariat to join in the discussion - as the Voice of the People served.



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