Mashable Lays Off Staff, Shifts Focus From News

Mashable today announced that it is laying off about 30 members of its staff. Gone will be its entire politics desk, a good chunk of its global news desk and several of its editorial video team.

The news comes a week after receiving $15 million in funding from Turner Broadcasting, in a partnership intending to focus on developing and distributing streaming video content across different platforms.

Mashable CEO and media bro Pete Cashmore addressed this in a post on LinkedIn:

Last week we announced a funding round to put Mashable on
 more platforms, including television. This new focus means we have to
 change the way our teams are organized, and involved some very tough
 decisions. While such decisions are part of running a business, they are never easy. Change can often be hard, but we’re certain this is the right direction for Mashable.

Also:

We are certain this is the right direction for Mashable. But that 
doesn’t make it any less difficult to say goodbye to our friends and 
teammates.

I can’t imagine how difficult it is to let go of someone — I’m sorry, what?

Uh, Pete, you might want to get a hold of Nadja.

A story like this doesn’t normally move my needle, but it did get my attention only because I was once one of many that came to Mashable for tech-related news.

You wanted to find out about the latest on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? A beginner’s guide on Reddit? WordPress tools and tips? Amazon is probably doing something with tablets or apps or TV. What new device is Apple developing? Hell, throw in articles about Microsoft because they’re always doing stuff.

This was a catalog of work that I could completely get behind.

Nowadays, it resembles a sweaty three-way of Buzzfeed, Gawker and TMZ.

This digital double penetration has given us such valuable insights as a random mother’s reaction to listening to Nicki Minaj, and look, someone photoshopped a man bun onto Donald Trump, because we hate Trump and we’re idiots for getting tickled by something like this.

Hey, there was a collision involving a couple of airplanes? This is a good place to shoehorn in an emoji.

Kanye is tweeting about Taylor Swift? We’re locking the doors until someone regurgitates some semi-coherent thoughts about this.

And while we’re at it, let’s create enough posts about Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out party, which is totally stunning and amazing, to field our own baseball team (with its own designated hitter).

I don’t know what this shift will look like, or what kind of content it will produce. What I do know is that Mashable had been shifting away from its original focus of overwhelmingly tech-oriented articles, to articles from all over the spectrum. Current events, politics, health and medicine, social injustice, sports, celebrities and gossip, you name it.

A quote from Mashable’s COO reiterates my opinion.

From CNN:

In a staff meeting, Mashable chief operating officer Mike Kriak said the site was “moving away from harder news” and toward an “entertaining digital culture,” two sources familiar with his remarks said.

But I’m not sure what kind of value anyone can get out of a story of a woman discovering her celebrity doppelgänger, but only if she puts on a wig cap, or a woman taking engagement photos with a pizza box.

Again, I’m not sure what this move will result in. But I don’t anticipate a lot of valuable content. I do anticipate a lot more Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian news, and how they “shut down” their “haters” with a “positive” (and possibly topless) message, along with other overused internet buzzwords and clichés.

But I guess if you’re “inspired” by that, then who am I to stop you from giving them clicks? I’ll get out of your safe space.

Image Credits: Brian Solis

Author: Joseph Ruscitti

I’m a 30-something year old part-time blogger, part-time small business owner, and part-time human.

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