Univision Communications picks Raju Narisetti to run Gawker sites

Univision Communications, which recently acquired most of the blogs once ran by Gawker Media, yesterday named digital media executive Raju Narisetti as the head of a newly created unit that would run the sites.

The assignment would see Narisetti exercise oversight on the Gizmodo (technology), Jalopnik (cars), Jezebel (women's interests), Deadspin (sports), Lifehacker (lifestyle), and Kotaku (gaming).

Gizmodo Media Group is a part of Fusion Media Group, Univision's English-language digital media group.

Narisetti, currently with News Corp as senior vice president of strategy, will report to Isaac Lee, Univision's chief news, digital and entertainment officer, and Felipe Holguin, COO of Fusion Media.

Narisetti had earlier worked as managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Digital Network and managing editor of The Washington Post.

Univision, known for its Spanish-language programming, had been expanding its English news and content sites in a bid to widen its its reach, with younger readers, acquiring, The Onion, AV Club and Clickhole, which featured humour and satire. It had also bought The Root, an African-American news site; and Flama, a news-and-entertainment site for young Hispanics.

Univision paid $135 million last month for the acquisition of Gawker Media's sites under supervision of a bankruptcy court.

"As part of Univision, we will now be more ambitious in deepening, broadening and sensibly scaling the passionate digital communities" the sites have attracted, "by offering accurate, responsible, edgy and engaging journalism, as well as through relevant, related content and commerce," Narisetti said in a statement.

But Gawker loyalists question whether the new owner would support the risk-taking in both writing and reporting that was the hallmark of the approach of founder and former owner Nick Denton.

Lee, recently met former Gawker writer JK Trotter, now of Gizmodo, who told him that some staffers were "angry" about the acquisition, and sceptical of Univision's commitment to the brands.