Narisetti speaks to ONA about digital transition in media

Laurel Demkovich • April 11, 2018
Media School 2014 Distinguished Alumnus Raju Narisetti (Ann Schertz Photography)

When thinking about taking on a managerial role in newspapers, Raju Narisetti, CEO of Gizmodo Media Group said, be careful what you wish for. The media industry is continually evolving, and keeping up with the changes isn’t always easy.

After a talk and Q&A about India’s news media on Wednesday, Narisetti joined the Online News Association on Thursday, April 5 for a conversation on the digital transition of media. Questions ranged from how Narisetti, an IU alumnus, ended up in Bloomington to what his best piece of advice for college students was.

After traveling to Bloomington from India, Narisetti graduated from IU with a master’s degree in 1991. He went on to work for the Wall Street Journal, News Corp and the Washington Post. “Everything I have become in journalism is because of Indiana,” Narisetti said.

Narisetti assumed the role of CEO of Gizmodo Media Group shortly after it was sold by Gawker. He said he has spent the past two years focused on putting core journalism values at the center of their work. He added the journalists employed by Gizmodo needed more resources and more support.

“Most of my focus in the last few years has been putting some of the muscle back,” Narisetti said.

One of the most rewarding parts of the job, Narisetti said, has been the change in the Gizmodo newsroom from when he first got there to now. When he first arrived, several reporters felt like the world was against them, that they were looked down upon for being associated with Gawker Media. Gawker was was forced to file for bankruptcy in 2012 after they were sued for publishing an excerpt of a sex tape belonging to Hulk Hogan.

“I wanted to be able to create an environment and allow them to do the work they like to do,” Narisetti said. “They exhale a bit more now.”

Abigail Barrett, a sophomore in the Media School, said it’s always good to hear from people in the industry.

“He had a lot of interesting things to say about the business side and the business perspective on the media,” Barrett said.

When asked what his biggest piece of advice for journalism students is, Narisetti had a few different answers. He said his biggest piece of advice is to always have a couple of internships while in college. He added that it’s important for students to spend time reading and interacting with brands and platforms where they eventually want to work.

“If you really care about a topic or a certain set of areas, make sure you’re spending a lot of time with those brands,” Narisetti said.

His last piece of advice was to take classes that make students more well-rounded journalists. While in college, students have the opportunity to take courses on things outside of writing and reporting, such as ethics and the journalism business. Students should take advantage of that while they can.

“Taking classes that kind of build you out as a journalist are always important,” Narisetti said.