Yahoo News adds heft to online news operation

Yahoo has opened a bureau in Washington, D.C. and expanded their news staff to increase its original content and, it hopes, its viewers. -db

The New York Times
March 30, 2010
By Miguel Helft

SAN FRANCISCO — Yahoo has recruited nearly a dozen journalists from traditional and online media outlets and opened a bureau in Washington to push into original content and increase the popularity of its online news site.

The journalists joining Yahoo News, the most-visited news site on the Web, include prominent reporters and editors like Michael Calderone, a media writer who joins from Politico, Jane Sasseen, a former BusinessWeek Washington bureau chief, and Anna Robertson, an Emmy-winning news producer from ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

They will be joining other journalists hired from the New York Observer,, and other publications.

In February, Yahoo News had over 43 million visitors, more than any other news site, according to comScore, a research company.

The journalists have been hired to create original articles and videos on topics like politics and media. The coverage will complement the news articles that Yahoo licenses from other media organizations and brings together on its site.

The move mirrors a successful push by Yahoo into original sports coverage some three years ago, with the hiring of sports journalists and the acquisition of, a network of sports blogs. Yahoo began that push after a more costly and ambitious effort to create original television-style programming faltered.

“My hopes are to continue to build out a voice for our media properties and to replicate the success we have had in Yahoo Sports,” said James Pitaro, head of media at Yahoo.

While Yahoo’s media properties like news, finance and sports are among the most successful Web sites in their categories, the Internet company has struggled in the last several years with intensifying competition from Google and a weakening advertising market.

The company experienced a steady stream of executive defections in that time and also reduced its staff.

Analysts say that the turnaround efforts engineered by Carol Bartz, who became chief executive a little more than a year ago, remain a work in progress.

Mr. Pitaro said that the move into original content in sports proved profitable and that in its foray into news, Yahoo would seek to “maintain our healthy profit margins.”

Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company