Back in May, Jimmy Pitaro, the man in charge of Yahoo’s media division, told AdAge that the company planned to double the amount of original content it produces, from 10% to 20%, over the next year.One of the things that will help Yahoo achieve that goal is Associated Content, the crowd-sourced freelancer factory it recently acquired for more than $100 million.
The other is the small army of journalists it has been amassing over the past few years.
It began in 2007 when Yahoo created a network of highly successful sports blogs that now employs dozens of writers and has surpassed ESPN.com as the top online sports destination. The original content expansion continued in 2008 when Yahoo launched a women’s blog called Shine run by former Jane magazine editor in chief Brandon Holley, who now oversees a staff of eight. It’s been getting ramped up in recent months with the launch of a new politics, national affairs and media blog, and an entertainment blog.
By our count, the company has made at least nine new editorial hires so far this year, and they’re currently recruiting for an editor to oversee a “small team of professional bloggers” for a soon-to-be-launched finance site. In late April, Jamie Mottram, Yahoo’s managing editor of blogs, said he planned to hire 12 additional full time editorial staffers.
Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz gave the original content efforts a nod during the company’s second quarter 2010 earnings call earlier this week:
We continue to make investments in our existing content and media sites. With Yahoo! News, we focus on building out a voice and identity for the site, much like we’ve done for sports. We’ve recently established a politics and opinion team, and since then we’ve seen click-through rates increase up to 50% on political content. And in early July, we launched The Upshot. The blog focuses on politics, the media, and breaking news. The team behind it uses their incredible reporting skills, as well as analysis of what’s trending on Yahoo! to deliver content that’s designed to be relevant for our audience.
Yahoo clearly needs them on board if it wants to grow the company, which it failed to do during its mediocre second quarter.
So who are these folks?
We’d like to introduce you to about 20 of them. (Sorry Yahoo! Sports and Yahoo! Shine, but there are too many of you so we had to be picky.)
Mottram is the guy who's been leading Yahoo's original content and blogging efforts on the editorial side. He joined the company in 2007 to develop a network of sports blogs, which ended up being wildly popular, surpassing ESPN.com as the top sports news destination on the web. The success of Yahoo's sports blogs, which are now written by dozens of reporters and columnists, ultimately kicked off Yahoo's broader original content expansion.
Robertson, who joined Yahoo in January of this year, is the company's first social media editor, a position Yahoo! News clearly needs now that it has lots of original content to market online. She was previously a senior producer at ABC News. From 2003 to 2009 she developed and created content for Good Morning America. Robertson has won two Emmy awards for her work as a producer.
Pesavento has been a professional sports journalist for 13 years. Before becoming managing editor at Yahoo! Sports, he was the assistant managing editor and senior editor. Before Yahoo, Pesavento was sports editor at The Los Angeles Times. In his LinkedIn profile, he says: 'My career goal is to lead a major media company.'
Ryan joined Yahoo! in March 2010 after having been a front page producer with the company from 2007 to 2010. Prior to Yahoo, Ryan was a producer at NBC Universal and a web editor at Fox Interactive Media.
Reimer joined Yahoo in January 2010 as its inaugural entertainment blog editor. Before that she was an editor and writer/producer at MTV and a Senior Producer at VH1. Here she is with Paris!
Andrew Golis, aka 'The 26-year-old Behind Yahoo's Newsiest 57 Million Page Views,' came on board last fall to helm Yahoo's now officially-launched news blog, The Upshot. He's the guy who recruited the following seven all-star journalists you'll meet in the slideshow. He was previously deputy publisher of Talking Points Memo.
Cook left his post at Gawker to join Yahoo! News at the end of April. He does a lot of investigative stuff, which is also what he focused on as a staff writer at now-defunct Radar magazine. He was also a reporter at The Chicago Tribune. (Plus he wrote a book about the iconic indie label Merge Records!)
Hartman joined Yahoo! News in June 2010 as a political reporter. Her previous positions include senior researcher at The Washington Independent and political reporter and researcher at Congressional Quarterly.
After Conde Nast folded Jane magazine in July 2007, editor in chief Brandon Holley made the jump from old media to new by taking a job with Yahoo to run Shine, the company's women's website. (She described her difficulty making the adjustment in a March 17 New York Times article.) She now oversees an editorial staff of eight.
Romolini joined Shine in September 2008. She was previously the deputy editor at Lucky magazine and Chill Out editor at Time Out New York.
Weiss was formerly an editor at The New York Daily News and BestWeekEver.tv and her writing has appeared in Glamour, New York Magazine, McSweeney's and on VH1. She co-founded the blog Men Who Look Like Zach Braff. 'mum: The Style Icon,' a book she wrote based on her blog of the same name, will be published by Chronicle in 2011.
- editorial assistant at Inside.com and Inside magazine, Powerful Media
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