Mashable Axes At Least 20 Editorial Staffers As the Web Hurtles Towards Its Video Future
This morning, Mashable.com laid off nearly two dozen editorial staffers in a move that the sort of people who do the firing colloquially call “a pivot.” According to CNN’s Dylan Byers, Mashable staffers were informed that the company will be moving away from “hard news” and towards video.
Your next question might be: Mashable did hard news? Indeed. Among those forced to walk the plank were the site’s entire politics and global news teams as well as executive editor Jim Roberts, a longtime New York Times editor who worked at Reuters before migrating to Mashable in 2013. Replacing Roberts appears to be Greg Gittrich, who assumes the always dystopian title of Chief Content Officer. Gittirch was most recently at Vocativ, which is one of those new websites that seem to pop up out of nowhere.
Byers described the layoffs as abrupt, and they appear to have been executed hastily. On Twitter, now ex-Mashable senior producer Nadja Oertelt said she was laid off via a phone call while on a shoot and is now stranded in Ohio without access to her email:
I just got a call on a field shoot that I'm fired along with half the @mashable editorial staff.— nadja oertelt (@nadjao) April 7, 2016
Lol stranded in Ohio and can't even access my email to get my flight information to get back and clean out my desk. Thanks!— nadja oertelt (@nadjao) April 7, 2016
Per Oertelt, some of those fired had accepted jobs with the company as recently as six months ago:
I keep thinking about all the people on my team who left jobs only 6 months ago to join Mashable. Only to be treated like disposable humans— nadja oertelt (@nadjao) April 7, 2016
In his memo to the remaining Mashable staffers, CEO Pete Cashmore (heh) attributed the layoffs to a new round of funding the company just received from Turner Broadcasting. Here is some of the typical buzzword gobbledygook you get from these sorts of letters:
As our stories now live on multiple platforms, it’s doubly important that everything we create reflects that voice and ethos. That’s why we took the tough decision to move away from covering world news and politics as standalone channels. Instead, we will focus on telling these stories from a digital angle. We’ll spend more time focusing on our core coverage — technology, web culture, science, social media, entertainment, business and lifestyle, all told through the digital lens. We’ll also develop our real-time news coverage, keeping our audience up to date on breaking news and cultural trends being discussed on social networks.
The newest platforms in our lineup include over-the-top video networks and television. To realize the massive opportunity that these platforms represent and to keep our voice consistent across every platform, it’s clear that all our video producers should live on the same team. As part of Mashable Studios, our writers, animators and video producers will now have the opportunity to work on our most important video projects — from digital shows to television to branded series.
Cashmore also publicly released the memo on LinkedIn, which might at least be of some solace to those who were laid off. Nobody really wants to work for someone who uses LinkedIn that seriously.