Denton goes to the bench

Back in history, my children, when Nick Denton hired Elizabeth Spiers to be the first Gawker, he declared, to me anyway, that he didn’t want journalists, tainted as they were by their old ways. Well, note now his hiring notice at Gawker. Now he’s seeing someone with “at least two years of experience as a reporter at a daily or weekly newspaper, covering either crime news, business, or media and culture (yes, a print background is an advantage).” But he adds another requirement: “A reporter who appreciates the discipline of newspaper traditions, but chafes under them.”

There’s a sea change in that. Gawker and all blogs could make a go of it at first just commenting, but as Nick points out in his posting, there is a value in original reporting: “But the web–other blogs, search engines and social network sites–increasingly rewards original items.” So the two worlds do converge.

But that doesn’t mean Nick is doing things the classical way, or only that way; there’ll be no 5,000-word takeouts and weeks-long task force projects, he says. Here he’s putting out his formula for what we’ve called half-baked items, which he explained at the Murdoch newspaper confab we both attended as a blogging reporter saying to his audience, “Here’s what I know. Here’s what I don’t know. What do you know?”

At its most elevated, the new Gawker hire may experiment with a new form of reporting, unique to online, in which ideas are floated, appeals made to the readers, and the story assembled over the course of several items, from speculation, and tips from users.

I’ll take all the fun out of that, as perfessors do, and label that networked journalism.

(via Adrian Monck. Disclosure: I’m a friend of Nick’s and was on the board of his last company, Moreover.)