Mark Thompson, new CEO of The New York Times Company, emailed staff after his first week at work. This is a great example for business communication students to study:
- Content: What are Thompson's main points? What does he want NYT employees to know, and how does he want them to feel?
- Organization: What structure does Thompson use for his message? How does he sequence paragraphs? How does he convey the main point of each paragraph?
- Tone: How would you describe Thompson's tone? What changes, if any, do you see throughout the email? How does he balance positive messages with a sense of urgency?
- Sentence variety: How does Thompson vary sentence structure throughout his email? How many different types of sentences (simple, compound, complex) does he use?
- Punctuation: As we might expect, Thompson uses impeccable puntuation. How does he use m-dashes and semi-colons effectively?
As I finish my first week at The New York Times Company, I would like to thank the many people I've already met. As you'd expect, Times employees come across as super-smart and totally committed to maintaining the values and quality that the company and its newspapers have always stood for. But I've also been struck by how friendly and welcoming you've been to me.
I've been impressed by the work that's already in motion to tackle the structural trends that our industry faces and the products and services we're developing that will drive new growth and profitability, all while securing the brilliant journalism on which everything else depends. The digital subscription story continues to be an exciting one, and we can build on it further. With Invest in the Times and similar projects at the Globe and IHT, our company is already focusing on other growth opportunities. We are looking in the right places for future success: understanding and engaging with our readers and consumers better; developing compelling propositions in video, mobile and social; and figuring out how to drive more revenue from international audiences. The work done so far is really valuable.
But I don't want to underestimate the challenges we face. As our third-quarter results showed, the company is experiencing the same advertising and economic pressures as the rest of our industry. Figuring out how best to respond to these pressures - especially the long-term downward trajectory of print advertising - is also going to be an important part of our work in the coming months.
Thank you for a productive and inspiring first week. To help us get to know each other better, we have scheduled Town Hall meetings with me for Monday, Dec. 17, and Tuesday, Dec. 18, in The Times Center and Wednesday, Dec. 19, at College Point. More details will follow soon. I plan to have Town Hall meetings in Boston and at the IHT as soon as possible.