Mashable gets out of news business, moves towards video content about ‘digital culture’
NYT veteran Jim Roberts, who served as Chief Content Officer, is among those being let go; the move in a new direction comes after company received a $15M investment from Turner
The digital media company Mashable announced today that it would be making a dramatic shift in its emphasis: away from hard news and towards “stories of digital culture.” The move means that much of the news staff has been let go, including New York Times veteran Jim Roberts who joined Mashable as Executive Editor/Chief Content Officer in 2013.
Mashable, which received recently a $15 million investment from Turner, will now develop video content for both its own site and Turner properties TBS and TNT.
“As you know we recently announced a funding round to expand our storytelling to television,” founder Pete Cashmore wrote on LinkedIn. “To reflect these changes, we must organize our teams in a different way. Unfortunately this has led us to a very tough decision.”
“We are certain this is the right direction for Mashable,” Cashmore continued. “But that doesn’t make it any less difficult to say goodbye to our friends and teammates. Mashable is a very close-knit family and I value the contributions of each and every member.”
The problem with that idea, of course, is the the reason Turner should have been interested in Mashable content would have been because the media property was employing people like Jim Roberts… but now doesn’t.
Roberts had been with The New York Times for 26 years but took a buyout in early in 2013, shortly after he 2012 presidential election.
“I’d been thinking since the waning days of the presidential campaign that the election itself would be a sensible transition point for me. So that when the buyouts were formally offered, my mind was already thinking about looking for other opportunities,” Roberts told New York magazine. “Still, the decision wasn’t easy. I’ve put a lot of my soul into the New York Times, and you don’t easily walk away from that emotional investment.”
I’ve worked with some amazing digital journalists in my 2 1/2 years at Mashable. You know who you are. Thanks for making it such a gas.
— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) April 7, 2016
Also among those leaving Mashable will be Seth Rogin, chief revenue officer. Around 30 positions were cut, including the entire politics desk.
Nadja Oertelt, a senior producer at the company, announced her firing on Twitter, as did others: “I just got a call on a field shoot that I’m fired along with half the @mashable editorial staff.”
— Juana Summers (@jmsummers) April 7, 2016
Cashmore did announce that at least two are joining Mashable: Greg Gittrich as Chief Content Officer, and Ed Wise as the new Chief Revenue Officer. Gittrich was head of news and product for NBC News Digital for two years before leaving to become Chief Content Officer at start-up Vocativ.
Wise joins Mashable after stints as VP, Ad Sales for Funny or Die, and more recently Senior Vice President, Managing Director of Turner Branded Content. (Sounds like he was brought on board as a condition of the Turner investment, no?)