Is the Rumored Sale of Mashable to CNN a Sell Out or Win?

Author: Don Martelli
Published: March 12, 2012 at 6:00 am

The New York Times reported early this morning that CNN, a Time Warner media entity, are in advanced talks with Mashable, a leading social news site.

The report, from the Media Decoder blog, written by Brian Stelter, sources a blogger for Reuters (Felix Salmon) who reported on Sunday night that a CNN acquisition of Mashable could be announced on Tuesday.

Officials at CNN denied that an announcement would be made on Tuesday and declined to comment on the potential acquisition; a spokeswoman for Mashable also declined to comment, according to the report.

Mashable is a privately held, seven-year-old company and according to the Times report, would be’s largest acquisition to date. acquired Zite last fall. The purchase price estimated to be between $20 million and $25 million.

Regardless of the validity of the report, many will have questions about this deal from both sides of them journalism fence.

Is the Mashable sale a sell-out for an outlet that is considered by most, the top tier of social media journalism? Or, is this a huge win for CNN, arguably the world-wide leader in traditional news media. Or, another way to look at it...does this marriage make sense — new media fused with old media to create a well-sourced, well-read, well-respected media entity that could push the envelope of hybrid journalism?

As a former journalist for the Boston Globe turned social media journalist, my hybrid media brain says that this is a win for both entities (if it comes to fruition).

On one hand, CNN gets a highly valued media property that has tentacles all over the web. With access to social networking executives, start-ups, developers, celebrities, agency-types and the like, CNN would be the old guy buying a hot rod to look cool to fight off a mid-life crisis.

On the other hand, Mashable, still an infant as it relates to journalism years, grows up. Yes, Pete Cashmore and other Mashable contributors are regularly featured on, but with a formal deal in place, Mashable is no longer just a social media news website. It's become a "legit" news source, regardless of what old scruffy newspaper copy editors think. It validates Mashable's content, reporting style and marketing of their brand.

Personally, I think that this is sign of things to come. There is no old and new media anymore. All social networking is media and all media is social, as a good friend once told me.

What do you think of the rumor? Sell out or win?


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Article Author: Don Martelli

Known on the social web as “BigGuyD,” Don Martelli is just a dad, moonlighting as a digital marketer, photog and civilian journalist. He's the executive editor for Technorati. Connect with him at

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