Rumours that Johnston Press was in advanced talks to buy the i newspaper led to an open, honest and frank letter to readers in Friday's edition of the newspaper.
The letter wasn't dressed up. It didn't come from a circulations manager or a publicity team. Instead, it came directly from its editor Oliver Duff, writing directly to his readers outlining as much as he could about what was happening at the paper. He was refreshingly honest about what he could and couldn't say and critically in our 24/7 news culture, he quickly followed up with tweets to his 7,800 followers later in the day as more news became available.
The continued publication of answers to readers' questions highlights a genuine desire to keep readers (and other key stakeholders) informed.
Critically, the letter written was written in the first person. It will have played a huge part in maintaining relationships at a time of change. Many businesses revert to 'management speak' and third person narrative when announcing important news leaving staff and clients frustrated and/or uncertain about what precisely has been said and the impact it will have upon them.
Oliver Duff and the i demonstrated on Friday that honest and open messages put plainly and simply can be enormously powerful in keeping staff, readers and many other stakeholders on board and engaged at what could be viewed as an uncertain time for many.
We need more I and you in communications, particularly when change or difficult messages are ahead. And we need to use plain and simple language to ensure our messages are clearly received.
Thanks a lot for the weight of correspondence (and encouragement) about i's proposed new ownership, The Independent's leap to become digital-only, and this title's importance to the future of independent, quality, fair journalism. Just to recap, for those of you who missed Friday's and Saturday's papers: i will be bought by Johnston Press for £24m, subject to shareholder approval, after a deal was agreed with our current owners on Friday morning. JP will become Britain's fourth-largest print publisher.