Holy cow, this story has exploded in such a weird way.
Founder Nick Denton plans to relaunch [Gawker], which has been publishing fewer stories since the scandal began, with a heightened focus on newsworthiness over salaciousness, according to a report from Digiday. He told staffers at a Thursday meeting the new Gawker.com would be "20 percent nicer" than its previous iteration, Capital New York reported.
Also, Gawker's parent company, Gawker Media, might be changing its name to distance itself from the Gawker brand. Denton says that any employees who are not happy with this decision are welcome to "quit and receive full severance pay." Of course, this news follows a dumb retraction of a dumb post, which I wrote about last week. But it's interesting, too, that Gawker writers overwhelmingly voted to unionize earlier this year.
Every publication, if it hangs around long enough, will eventually suffer an institutional crisis of conscience. Everything depends on how the publisher and management responds to the crisis: do they throw away the past and forget their mission statement? Or do they get smarter about meeting their mission statement?
I've not always been a fan of Gawker, but I have at least always respected Nick Denton's obvious intelligence. He's built a blog into a media empire. And now he's about to make what will probably be the most important decision of his career. From here, with no real inside knowledge of the situation, it looks like he's making the wrong decision.