FishbowlNY has heard multiple reports from inside Gawker Media that Consumer Reports is in talks to purchase GM’s Consumerist blog. A meeting was held yesterday between visiting executives and top Gawker management — including Consumerist editor Ben Popken — while Ken Weine, a spokesman for Consumer Reports‘ parent company Consumer Union, told FishbowlNY this afternoon that “we’ve had discussions about Consumerist and that’s all I can say at this time.” Gawker publisher Nick Denton put Consumerist up for sale last month.
The consumer watchdog blog would be a natural acquisition for Consumer Reports. Two weeks ago, Popken told PC World he was in “preliminary negotiations, but things look good” regarding a purchase, adding that “the prospect is a good name everyone will be happy with.”
So, which three Gawker Media employees learned last night that they’d been let go?
Since putting Consumerist on the block, Denton’s been making rolling layoffs at the company: project manager Cia Bernales, technical producer Jory Stiefel, and community administrator Kaila Hale-Stern all learned last night that they’d been let go. Additionally, Sangraal Aiken, a senior Java developer, has gone from “a full-time employee to a contractor paid by the hour at a reduced rate,” a source within the company says.
On the editorial side, the Observer revealed that longtime Gawker editor Alex Pareene is going part-time, too. Reportedly unhappy with Gawker’s redesign and new mandatory weekend shifts for the site’s writers, Pareene told FishbowlNY that his move from full- to part-time tenure was “voluntary,” and that he’s looking forward to spending more time “napping, showering, [and] trying to get $200 from Radar.”