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This Could Actually Save Kotaku...

Updated: Jun 29

Kotaku, a website once revered for its fearless gaming journalism and high-impact storytelling (I know... It was a long time ago. I was there, Gandalf), now finds itself at a critical juncture.

G/O Media, its parent company, has posted a job listing for a new Editor-in-Chief, describing the role as essential for guiding Kotaku back to relevance. While this might seem like a potential HUGE beacon of hope for the struggling site, there are underlying issues that raise some serious skepticism about whether or not this move can truly save Kotaku.

A Controversial Approach to Leadership

The job listing from G/O Media emphasizes the need for diversity in their new hire, specifically mentioning a preference for candidates who are not the 'straight white male' archetype. While promoting diversity at one time was a commendable goal, for many companies, it's turned into explicitly excluding a particular demographic from consideration. Diversity of appearance is NOT diversity of thought.

This boils down to just being both racist... and sexist. Their approach not only contradicts the principles of equal opportunity employment, but also, risks alienating a portion of their potential candidate pool... The very pool of people that could be best fit to turn the company around.

Kotaku's parent company appears to be falling into the same pitfalls that have plagued them in the past. By focusing on 'identity politics' rather than solely on qualifications and vision, they're going to be repeating mistakes that contributed to their current struggles. If G/O Media truly wants to clean up the mess, they need to ensure that the best candidate is chosen based on merit, NOT identity.

Per the posting:

"...This is a very visible role, both internally and externally, and we need someone who can represent the brand and the company with integrity and smarts. This is an in-person, in-office role based in New York City." 

Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

  • In collaboration with your managers and audience development, shepherd a menu of content—with a heavy emphasis on tips, guides, and reviews—designed to grow audience and drive traffic.

  • Refine the voice and mission of the site, ensuring they are in line with the goals of G/O Media.

  • Craft the editorial calendar; liaise with sales for package opportunities.

  • Manage budget, logistics, and resource allocation for the department.

  • Use data insights and analytics to understand our audience, and inform the way we commission, curate and edit stories, then share those learnings with your team.

  • Manage personnel, staffing, and hiring across a newsroom of writers and editors.

  • Run daily and weekly edit meetings (in-person whenever possible).

  • Stay up to speed on the category so as to ensure we are always relevant, urgent and competitive with other media.

 Qualifications:

  • 7+ years of editorial experience in digital media, including 5 years of experience as an editor in the gaming space.

  • A demonstrable passion for gaming.

  • Experience leading a large editorial team.

  • Strong interpersonal and collaborative problem-solving skills.

  • A skilled editor and writer.

  • Well organized, with experience managing content calendars.

  • Ability to juggle a vibrant daily newsroom’s many needs with ambitious, long-term projects. 

This position has range of $125,000.00 up to $180,000.00 annually, dependent upon years of related experience.


The Humor in Their Vaccination Policy

In 2024, it is almost comical that G/O Media still mandates COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees. While the intention behind this policy is rooted in public health concerns, it is so blatantly out of touch with the current state of the pandemic and public sentiment that it makes me feel like they forgot to update it.

The company is committed to public health and to the safety and wellbeing of our colleagues, visitors, and volunteers.  As such, we have adopted a policy requiring all employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or to meet the legal guidelines for an exemption.

If this company wants to be taken seriously, how can they leave stuff like this in their posting? Many organizations have moved past such mandates, recognizing that the virus is now endemic and vaccination status is a personal choice. This outdated policy may deter potential candidates who view it as an unnecessary overreach.

Will the New Editor-in-Chief Make a Difference?

The role of Editor-in-Chief is undeniably critical for Kotaku. The ideal candidate is expected to bring a wealth of experience in digital media, a deep passion for gaming, and strong leadership skills.

They must navigate a fast-paced newsroom, manage an editorial team, and use data insights to drive content strategy. These responsibilities are substantial, and finding a candidate who can effectively execute them is paramount.

It would be great if Kotaku took the time and hired someone to take accountability for their company's missteps, like when their employee Alyssa Mercante sought out my wife's private personal information to contact her and attempt to create strife in my relationship.

Or when Carolyn Petit, her only superior, stood by Alyssa's side on those actions instead of reprimanding her. The current state of Kotaku is beyond a clown show. It is pure insanity, and logic is in desperate need of sanity.

The broader issues within G/O Media cannot be overlooked. Their track record of mismanagement and controversial policies has contributed to Kotaku's continued downfall. To truly revitalize the site, G/O Media must address these systemic problems from the top. Hiring a new Editor-in-Chief is a step in the right direction, but it is not a panacea. The company needs to foster an environment where meritocracy prevails and where policies are in line with contemporary standards and employee expectations.

This environment is created from this position, but unfortunately, it looks like they are aiming to add yet another clown to the circus:


G/O Media is deeply committed to fostering a transparently inclusive workplace environment and people of color, women, people with disabilities, veterans, and LGBTQIA+ candidates are very strongly encouraged to apply. Our company-wide mission is to reach very diverse audiences and so, we are deeply committed to having teams and leaders that reflect this mission.

...Which ironically, flies in the face of what they say later on in the posting:

G/O Media provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

Someone, please make it make sense.


Change Won't Change If They Don't... Change.

Those of you who have been following the channel for a while will recall how I started a petition on Change.org to #EndKotaku, and in it, called for sweeping changes from within. If KKotaku failed to do so, then to shut it all down entirely for the betterment of the entire video game industry. This has a chance to start the change. The job posting for a new Editor-in-Chief at Kotaku offers a glimmer of hope for the beleaguered website. However, the approach taken by G/O Media raises several red flags. Their emphasis on excluding certain demographics while still maintaining outdated policies shows that they still haven't learned from past mistakes.


For Kotaku to ACTUALLY be saved, G/O Media needs to prioritize qualifications and leadership over identity politics and adopt a more modern, flexible approach to workplace policies. Then, and only then, can they hope to restore Kotaku to its former glory...


~Smash

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4 Comments


R. V.
R. V.
Jun 28

Minor error in your reporting. Melissa and her "henchthems", not henchmen...

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The washington post was able to stage a successful coup to prevent a new Editor, from coming aboard and navigating a course back to “journalism” and, fingers crossed, profitability. Does anyone think the entire staff kotuku is compromised of anything but “untouchables” cut from the same cloth as the waPoseurs?


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I honestly don't get why G/O Media would want to do a stupid thing like that because NO ONE out there wants Kotaku around at all, They'd rather see the company go down in Flames,which it should because that company is infested with Scumbag activists that enjoy being online Terrorists and so this shouldn't be allowed to happen at all. I say " Let Kotaku Burn & Purge all the Activist Scum for good" !

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