Monday, 28 December 2009

Mashable broadens editorial scope

Mashable, one of the leading sites for social media news, made an interesting departure from its usual coverage of tech news yesterday as it posted a story on a potential airline security breach.

The piece, which covered an alert on a flight between Amsterdam and Detroit, reported that a male had been behaving suspiciously during transit. An extract follows:

"An update to our story yesterday about stricter rules for those taking electronics on aircraft: today a second Amsterdam to Detroit flight with the same flight number – Northwest Airlines Flight 253 – suffered disruption after a Nigerian man reportedly locked himself in the bathroom before landing.

The plane landed safely in Detroit and was immediately surrounded by emergency vehicles. Flight crew said the man was “verbally disruptive” when approached. It’s not yet clear if there was a threat to the plane’s safety."

Although the report does vaguely slip into Mashable's USP, featuring a paragraph covering the implications for those wanting to take their tech into the skies, one suspects the story falls well outside of the site's catchment area.

Indeed, a tweet from the @Mashable account did little to stress the implications of the alert to flying tech fiends.

While this coverage probably doesn't signal a change of editorial course for Mashable, it's an interesting anomaly. Perhaps more significantly is the statistic that the report was only retweeted 531 times, compared the usual thousands of regurgitations a story posted on the site normally receives.