This memo, intended for Gawker Media employees, was published on JimRomenesko.com earlier today. In the interest of sharing our mission to bring editorial and commercial conversation with our readers — those who, under our new discussion platform, truly control it — it is being republished in full here.
Gawker Media begins with a story. I was a newspaper reporter for the Financial Times. It offered unrivalled access to newsmakers in politics and business and some of the smartest colleagues one could find in media. And yet the most compelling anecdotes and opinions that were shared privately — over a drink after deadline — so rarely made it to the page the next morning.
From the foundation ten years ago, Gawker and its sibling titles were intended to give readers a direct connection to writers — and through them a deeper understanding of events and the way the world works. That question asked over a drink by one reporter to another — so what really happened? — is the impetus for all the work we do.
That conversation is more revealing than what passes for news in newspapers and on television. That conversation should be the story. That conversation is our story. The uninhibited expression of a writer's mind — the gossip, the revealing anecdote, the politically incorrect analysis, the skepticism about a source's motives — is our purpose.
And that is the central organizing principle of Gawker — the uncompromising ethos that has drawn such a significant audience and outsized reputation. This is not a quick exercise in financial speculation; Gawker's impact on media will become clear over decades. There are no outside investors to make us compromise our goals. We hire people who have a similar detestation of bullshit — and a desire to do work that endures.
Gawker's initial proposition was editorial. The characters in our story have been journalists. But they are supported by the sales people who fund our enterprise, the engineers who make it possible to publish so swiftly to 40 million readers a month, and the operations staff who make this machine of anarchy run so efficiently. Our attachment to authenticity informs all departments.
Gawker's sales and in-house creative teams do not simply land one-off banner campaigns wrapped in jargon and fads like other digital properties. Our advertising offerings reflect our editorial ideal: to tell stories that are involving and genuine. We aspire to real interactive advertising: a meaningful conversation between marketers and consumers that was the commercial promise of the web — but rarely delivered.
That brings us to technology — and the organization's future. Blog publishing software — first adapted from publicly available platforms and then our own — has permitted much of the editorial innovation we have brought to online media. Spontaneous publishing to a mass audience and measurement of the performance of both articles and contributors: these are just the two of the most profound improvements in process underpinned by our technology effort in New York and Budapest.
But we are still at the beginning of our mission to bring real editorial and commercial conversation to a wider public. Even at Gawker there are interactions — between journalists, sources, protagonists and readers — that never make it to the page.
And that is why we are putting such singular focus on a new publishing platform built around discussion. It will further reduce the latency between thought and the page; keep writers honest; surface different viewpoints and expertise; and expose sources and marketers to readers' genuine questions and feedback. In short, it will bring us closer to the Gawker ideal, a system for arriving at the truth, however uncomfortable.