Former NYT editor Jim Roberts joins public strategy firm Mercury as a Managing Director
Roberts was most recently Chief Content Officer/Executive Editor at Mashable, and beofre that spent 26 years at The New York Times, his last role as Assistant Managing Editor
New York, NY – October 3, 2016 — Mercury, a leading global, bipartisan public strategy firm, announced today a transformative expansion of its digital mission under the new stewardship of Jim Roberts, one of the world’s top digital media executives and storytellers.
Roberts, a long-time editor and leader of digital innovation for the New York Times, Reuters and most recently Mashable, joins Mercury as a Managing Director. In his role, Roberts will drive the vision of the firm’s burgeoning digital business. He will work across Mercury’s global offices to provide critical strategy and guidance to clients about the use of digital platforms, mobile devices and social channels to communicate with their audiences and solve complex problems.
“We are in the midst of a rapidly evolving era in business that requires the ability to narrate across digital platforms to be successful,” said Kirill Goncharenko, President and Co-Founder of Mercury. “That demand will only grow more critical in the coming years. For Mercury to have one of the best storytellers in Jim Roberts is a recognition of our firm’s distinctive place at the intersection of media, business and politics. No one has both the understanding of digital strategy and the skills of a wildly talented journalist quite like Jim.”
“Every day, we see new opportunities to connect with people as technology opens new paths of communication,” Roberts said. “Yesterday, it was live video apps; today it’s chat bots. Imagine what tomorrow will bring. I am excited to help Mercury and its clients see the possibilities of these innovations, and help grow what I have learned in the newsroom on an exponentially larger scale.”
The mission of Mercury Digital will have several components, all aimed at helping reach audiences where they are most receptive – very often the smartphone that’s in their hands. Mercury’s digital experts will help the private sector, advocacy groups and NGOs understand the complexities and opportunities of digital and social channels; they will help design and execute campaigns and provide best-practice training for managers and marketers; and they will help media companies manage their own transitions from legacy to digital operations.
“Over the course of my career I have witnessed the power of digital communication and dedicated the last decade of my career to harnessing that impact in the evolution of journalism and newsgathering,” Roberts said. “We live in a real-time, interactive, sharing society, where people are inseparable from their digital devices and the information that flows through them.”
The Mercury Digital mission is one for which Roberts is ideally suited. From late 2013 through April 2016, Roberts served as Executive Editor and Chief Content Officer at Mashable, where he led editorial operations across all platforms and helped expand the site from its roots in technology coverage and Internet culture into a broad digital news publication that appealed to millennials and those who think like them.
During his tenure at Mashable, Roberts helped double the audience to more than 45 million monthly unique visitors, managed a team of 100 journalists and helped build editorial operations across the globe.
Prior to joining Mashable, Roberts spent 26 years in a variety of editing roles at The New York Times. Starting in 2005, Roberts would make a name for himself as a digital media luminary, helping to usher the Times into the digital age at the height of a critical evolutionary period in journalism.
In his roles as Associate and later Assistant Managing Editor, Roberts oversaw digital content for NYTimes.com and provided the leadership that encouraged innovation in real-time news coverage, multimedia reporting and social interaction.
Roberts has also been a leader in showing how to personally use the power of social media to inform news coverage and help spread it. His Twitter timeline (@nycjim) is considered one of the smartest and most curated feeds of what’s news and what matters, with an influential following of more than 180,000 people.
“I am immensely proud of what we accomplished at the Times,” Roberts said. “We were able to merge the dynamic strengths of the paper’s traditions of thorough reporting and deep investigative journalism with the interactive, social and immersive potential of the Internet. As I segue into this next chapter with Mercury, I see a powerful opportunity to spread that creativity and innovation.”
Roberts, who will be based in Mercury’s New York City offices, starts immediately.