Univision Hires News Corp Vet to Lead Former Gawker Media Sites

Raju Narisetti - P - 2016
Courtesy of Subject

Raju Narisetti will be CEO of Gizmodo Media Group, which will encompass former Gawker properties including Deadspin and Jezebel.

Univision has created a separate operating unit for the Gawker Media properties that it bought at auction in August and has tapped a News Corp. executive to run the business. 

The Gizmodo Media Group will run as a unit within Univision's Fusion Media Group and will encompass the former Gawker websites Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Deadspin, Lifehacker and Kotaku. Notably absent from the both the name and the group is flagship website Gawker, which Univision did not buy for $135 million along with the other properties. Gawker.com was subsequently shut down, with its employees moving to roles at other Gawker sites. The archives are still available at Gawker.com. 

Univision has hired Raju Narisetti to manage all business and editorial operations for Gizmodo Media Group as its CEO. Narisetti has been senior vp strategy at News Corp. since 2013, overseeing acquisitions and global expansion. A journalist since 1991 when he was a summer reporting intern for The Wall Street Journal, Narisetti previously served as managing editor at The Wall Street Journal Digital Network and as managing editor at the Washington Post.

Narisetti will report to Isaac Lee, chief news, digital and entertainment officer, and Felipe Holguin, president and chief operating officer of Fusion Media Group. 

“Raju is a rare combination, someone who comes with a very strong background in journalism, became a leader in digital media on three continents and went on to develop new businesses for a global company," Lee said Wednesday in a statement. "His commitment to journalistic integrity, his entrepreneurial spirit and proven ability to adapt quickly in a fast-paced digital environment will help us strengthen and grow these newly acquired category-leading brands."

Added Narisetti: "As part of Univision, we will now be more ambitious in deepening, broadening and sensibly scaling the passionate digital communities that Gizmodo, Jezebel, DeadspinKotakuJalopnik and Lifehacker have attracted, by offering accurate, responsible, edgy and engaging journalism, as well as through relevant, related content and commerce." 

Narisetti is taking over the top job at a company that was founded and run for years by Nick Denton, who left as part of the sale to Univision. Denton signed a non-compete after the sale in exchange for $16,666 a month for the next two years. The former Gawker's leadership team will now report to Narisetti. That includes GMG president Heather Dietrick, executive editor John Cook and deputy general counsel Courtenay O'Connor. 

But Narisetti could face a news organization concerned about its place within Univision. Gizmodo writer J.K. Trotter recently interviewed Lee about Univision's decision to remove six posts that are the subject of ongoing litigation, a move that Trotter writes created "intense skepticism about Univision's commitment to defending the work of its journalists." 

Narisetti will start in October and will be based out of GMG's New York headquarters.