Gawker Media graduates its first class of ‘Recruits’

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Fittish home page. (Fittish)
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Jeremy Barr

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In February, Gawker Media editorial director Joel Johnson announced Recruits, a new program for attracting and retaining writing talent for its family of sites.

The program essentially codified (and monetized) Gawker's occasional use of its commenting ranks as a farm system. It gave recruits their own topic-oriented blog—a subsite of one of Gawker's eight verticals—on its Kinja platform, and a 90-day window to write content and bring in readers.

The first round of the program is over, and Johnson told Capital that eight of the first 18 recruits will either continue as long-term contributors or get hired on full-time.

"All in all I'd call it a good first run," he said. "Definitely better than I expected."

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Gawker recruits are given a $1,500 stipend per month, and can earn additional revenue by generating clicks — $5 for every 1,000 unique visitors.

"Monthly uniques over the first 300,000 ($1,500) a month will be paid out at the $5 eCPM, up to a maximum of $6,000," Johnson's introduction read.

Two recruits in this period's class came close to the $6,000 cap, Johnson said.

He singled out Fittish, a running blog written by Jon Gugala, as an early star.

"My goal is to discover and train new talent with which we can build a long-term relationship, not to momentarily mine cheap traffic with a rotating pool of contributors," Johnson wrote back in February. "That said, I anticipate less than 1 in 10 Recruits will be given a long-term offer: we want only the very best."

The next round of the program starts in July.