In today’s New York Observer, Felix Gillette profiles Yahoo News’ blog managing editor, Jamie Mottram,Mottram’s the guy who’s leading a big makeover for Yahoo News, which is trying to capitalise on its booming revenue and traffic stats by investing in original content.
- Mottram’s a 32-year-old who lives near the beach in Wilmington, N.C and grew up outside Washington D.C. with ambitions of being a TV sports anchor.
- In 2003, he and his younger brother, Chris, created a D.C. sports website for AOL called Mr. Irrelevant, but it didn’t get a lot of traffic and AOL pulled the plug. (Although they still maintain and update the blog on their own.)
- In 2006, Mottram pitched a sports blog network called Fanhouse and AOL greenlighted it. But he left AOL in the summer of 2007 for a gig working under former LA Times editor Dave Morgan at Yahoo Sports. Mottram was tasked with assembling a team of bloggers to break news and do investigations.
- Since then, Yahoo Sports has beat ESPN.com and become the top online sports destination, and some very pleased Yahoo executives put Morgan and Mottram “in charge of the entire editorial show.”
Which brings us to the present.
Mottram’s been working on ramping up Yahoo’s politics and media coverage since last fall, when he brought on 26-year-old wunderkind publisher Andrew Golis to oversee The Newsroom, a new Yahoo blog about media, politics and national affairs.
Golis so far has recruited an impressive roster of high-profile journalists to staff the site, including Chris Lehman, formerly of Bookforum (and husband of Ana Marie Cox), Michael Calderone, formerly of Politico, and John Cook, formerly of Gawker.
Right now, The Newsroom very much appears to be in a soft launch phase. It’s just a reverse crawl of headlines. No photos. No bylines or branding of the big-name writers. (Although they do get author credits at the end of each item.)
The official launch is scheduled for sometime this summer, and we hear the name and appearance of the blog will be changing as well.
Yahoo made $1.6 billion in revenue during Q1 2010, upped its display advertising by 20% in the past year and has become the No. 1 news site in the country, with 40,205,000 unique users, according to Nielsen Online’s March stats.
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