Some Writers Flee As Mashable Goes Through Changes 7

Some current (and now former) Mashable writers celebrate St. Patrick's Day in March 2011.

Mashable has seen several writers flee over the past few months, as new leadership at the company works to change the direction and make the popular blog more mainstream in its news coverage.

Jolie O’Dell, Jennifer Van Grove, Radhika Marya, Brenna Ehrlich and Erica Swallow all recently called it quits, following the hire of Lance Ulanoff (the former EIC of PC Mag). Ulanoff has been tasked to make Mashable a global news organization, covering business, entertainment and sports, in addition to social media and technology news. When O’Dell left to work for VentureBeat, she attributed her departure to the direction Mashable was taking, and noted in her blog that Mashable was moving away from insightful content – which she valued and enjoyed writing. Van Grove was one of the first writers to work for Mashable, and had been at the company since November 2008. Like O’Dell, she also left to work for VentureBeat.

Business Insider has some more details on the changes occurring at Mashable from unnamed sources:

  • Cashmore brought in Ulanoff to expand the site’s news coverage to general news and launched entertainment and world news verticals.
  • Adam Ostrow, who had been editor in chief since the company started, relinquished his position. One source close to Ostrow described it as a “demotion disguised as a promotion.”
  • Ben Parr was offered an enormous cash payout as long as he stays until 2012. One source said Parr was offered a compensation package, on top of salary, worth more than $100,000 and less than $300,000.
  • Mashable let go most of its events staff: Kate Hayden. Karen Hartline. Site manager Brett Petersel was laid off in February. Mashable describes all its departures as “mutual.” Sources told us that they left because they disagreed with the direction of the company.
  • Multiple sources told us Cashmore is looking to sell Mashable in the same way The Huffington Post sold to Aol.

Since Ulanoff came on board, Mashable has reportedly seen more unique visitors to the site then ever before. So even while they they are driving away some well known writers, their new content continues to bring in new readers.

UPDATE (11/21/11)

Editor-at-Large Ben Parr, has been fired by Mashable. The reasons for his termination have not been disclosed, but it is rumored that he and Mashable could not reach an agreement and that the compensation package he was supposed to receive didn’t happen, and the fact that the public found out about it was a breach of contract. Parr has not tweeted anything since Friday (11/18) which is rare for him. Except for Pete Cashmore, Parr was certainly the most recognizable reporter at Mashable. Parr has confirmed his departure from Mashable, but does not know what he will pursue next.


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