Mashable Email to Staff Announces New Exec

Pete Cashmore, founder of technology news website Mashable, announced a new executive. In his email to staff, Cashmore used the direct organization plan (as we would expect) and put the news up front:

Team Mashable,

Today we are announcing an important and exciting addition to our family – Jim Roberts. Jim joins our team as Executive Editor and Chief Content Officer.

Many of you may know Jim from Twitter as @nycjim, from his work as Executive Editor of Reuters Digital, and from his years at The New York Times where he was most recently Assistant Managing Editor, overseeing the digital newsroom including video, social media and breaking news.

Read the entire email.

To complement the internal annoucement, Jim Roberts, the new hire, wrote an article on LinkedIn about joining the company. Here are the first two paragraphs: 

Today is an exciting day for me. I'm joining a new family, as executive editor and chief content officer at Mashable.

To some it might seem a bit of a departure. You might imagine a headline like: "Longtime New York Times and Reuters veteran forsakes legacy media for digital upstart."

Read the full article.

(Side note: Although the story on LinkedIn refers to the communication as a  "Memo to Staff," it is highly unlikely that Mashable is sending printed memos rather than email. [In his introduction, Cashman refers to it as a "message."] Using "memo" as a generic term was part of my presentation topic at ABC 2013 in New Orleans: "The Memo Is Dead.")

Discussion Starters:

  • In what ways does this email follow principles described in Chapter 6 about positive and neutral messages? Where does it fall short?
  • In addition to the direct style, what other organizational strategies does Cashman use in his email? In what ways are they effective or ineffective?
  • If Cashman asked for your feedback on his email before he sent it, what would you advise?