Hires and Fires

Slashdot Founder Rob “CmdrTaco” Malda Will Now Command WaPo Labs as Chief Strategist and Editor-at-Large

 Slashdot Founder Rob CmdrTaco Malda Will Now Command WaPo Labs as Chief Strategist and Editor at Large

Mr. Malda, via Wikimedia

Six month after leaving Slashdot, the “News for Nerds” site he founded in 1997, Rob “CmdrTaco” Malda finally announced his new venture: a position as chief strategist and editor-at-large at “WaPo Lab,” a digital team within the Washington Post Company that experiments with digital technologies related to the company’s news sites. In 2011, the Lab released both Washington Post Social Reader and Trove.

It’s harder to get someone more steeped in Internet culture than Mr. Malda, whose site started using +1 and karma points years before Google+ and Reddit were even a glint in anyone’s eye.  As Mr. Malda writes on his blog, he didn’t take the decision to work for “a startup inside an established corporation,” lightly, interviewing with more than 35 prospects before he settled on WaPo Labs, which he describes as:

 “A group that can exist at a nexus between newspapers, websites, cable networks, and TV stations and think about the big picture and the future without the normal burdens associated with a business operating at a large scale.”

But the company’s old-fashioned roots in reporting was part of the appeal:

“What became increasingly clear to me is that The Washington Post is doing something that matters to me personally: Real journalism.  The Pulitzer prize level kind.  They are working hard to educate and inform the public.  To shine the lights into the dark places.  While different in a great many ways from the work I’ve done in the past, the parallels are strong.  The mission is the same.  And the importance is real.”

Innovative minds attacking the problem of dwindling print revenue? +1.

Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com