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Poetic justice: CNET executive who fired Gerstmann will soon be jobless

8:05 PM on 04.04.2008 // Samit Sarkar

“Gerstmann-gate” has become something of a watershed moment in the games journalism industry. Many cynics had assumed that things like that had been occurring for years, but it wasn’t until the end of last November that we found out about it in such a highly publicized manner. Though we still don’t (and probably won’t ever) know what truly happened in the chain of events that led to CNET’s firing of eleven-year veteran GameSpot editor Jeff Gerstmann, the games industry has been forever changed by it.

But I’m pleased to be able to bring you an uplifting update on this sad story. Josh Larson, VP of games at GameSpot’s parent company, CNET — and the guy who was Gerstmann’s boss when he was fired — will be laid off next week as a casualty of restructuring. Kotaku was forwarded some “internal communication” that explained the move:
“...new management structure means that Josh Larson's position as VP, Games is being eliminated and Josh will be leaving the company.”
While it’s unclear if Larson was the guy who made the call to let Gerstmann go, we know for sure that Larson’s last day at CNET will be next Wednesday, April 9; this was confirmed to Kotaku when they contacted GameSpot’s current Editor-in-Chief, Ricardo Torres. Last week, CNET announced that they would be laying off 120 employees (10% of their American workforce), and it would appear that this change comes as a result of that move.

I wasn’t officially working in the industry when the scandal first broke, but as a gamer and an avid reader of games journalism, I was certainly very worried. Many Dtoiders felt the same way — remember the rash of “Has Destructoid sold out?” c-blogs when the site was skinned with Turning Point: Fall of Liberty advertisements? But ultimately, I have faith that the nascent industry will survive, if only because of sites like Destructoid. To read more about Larson and what CNET’s next move is, hit the jump.

[via Kotaku]

Larson was apparently never too popular with the GameSpot staff to begin with; around the time of Gerstmann’s firing, a member of the site’s reviews team supposedly posted on Valleywag with his view of the situation, including comments on Larson’s qualifications (or lack thereof):

“Our last executive editor, Greg Kasavin, left to go to EA, and he was replaced by a suit, Josh Larson, who had no editorial experience and was only involved on the business side of things.”
“...after Kasavin left the church-and-state separation between the sales teams and the editorial team has cracked, and with Jeff's firing I think it's clear that the management now has no interest at all in integrity and are instead looking for an editorial team that will be nicer to the advertisors.”

I wonder, though, if CNET is just trying to buy some credibility, which was lost — perhaps forever — when they got rid of Gerstmann. When you have GameSpot users canceling their subscriptions en masse, there’s a serious problem. In fact, word on the street has it that CNET will replace Larson with Shawn Rose, who currently works for TV.com, a CNET Networks site.

Have you all completely lost faith in GameSpot and removed them from your bookmarks? (I did.) And do you feel that this move could start them on the path to redemption? Scroll down and spill your guts in the comment box.



Samit Sarkar,
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