Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yahoo readies San Francisco news site

Moving quickly to leverage its $90 million-ish acquisition of Associated Content, Yahoo has begun recruiting writers to begin building a local news site for the San Francisco area.

Though hundreds of news shops of every shape and size already cover Northern California, Yahoo will be an instantly formidable competitor because of its vast market reach.

In a breathless email blast to registered contributors at Associated Content, Yahoo said it is “looking for writers living in or near the San Francisco area (like you!) to write compelling, local content — ranging from highlights of your favorite neighborhood destinations to metro-wide, first-person reporting assignments covering the stories and topics not typically found in mainstream news media.”

A questionnaire soliciting personal interests and writing samples from potential contributors indicates that the site will cover crime, local news, politics, weather, traffic, transit, sports, business, local celebrities, personal-interest stories, events and things to do, nightlife, restaurants, social calendar, real estate and development, education.

Those responding to the questionnaire were promised “a $10 assignment to write on any topic about San Francisco!” In the future, Yahoo said “select contributors” will receive “weekly, paid assignments to write articles on SF and their own neighborhoods.”

The Yahoo local site will join literally hundreds of institutional and individual efforts to cover the news in Northern California. Those efforts include:

:: The full complement of traditional commercial mainstream print and broadcast media, as well as some long-standing alternative print media.

:: Handsomely funded non-profit news operations like the Center for Investigative Reporting, Bay Citizen and KQED, that latter of which is a local public broadcaster that just announced plans to expand its local news operation.

:: Some 245 blogs and hyperlocal news sites tracked by the Bay News Network project operated by the Graduate School of Journalism and Knight New Media Center at the University of California at Berkeley.

Though Yahoo may seem to be late to the game, its standing as one of the top five busiest websites means it has far more power than any other competitor to drive traffic to its new local news site. It also has the capability to seek premium prices for the ads run on its local site through a system that targets banners to individuals based on their online behavior.


Blogger Bruce Wood said...

I wonder if they will have to share their content with AP since they are a member too. Maybe the MSM will be able to steal, I mean borrow their content for a change.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is amazing that both Yahoo and AOL are attempting to decimate the local news markets. In the NY area we are seeing AOL's Patch steal local ad revenue away from our weekly and daily papers of long standing.

Our local papers are staffed and edited by our neighbors. AOL Patch may hire a local kid but in the end, it seems like the editorial direction is decided miles and miles away.

Fred Silverman

5:40 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

@Bruce Wood: Creative thinking and an interesting scenario, but no, Yahoo does not share content. It is not a member of the AP cooperative; it is a subscriber.

6:46 AM  
Blogger The Big Blogger said...

Someday a digital techology will arrive which enables a news organization to generate enough revenue to cover the cost of producing the news. Unfortunately for the bureaucrats now running most newspapers and news websites that day is beyond the distant horizon. A thousand newspapers have tried to make money delivering news digitally - all have failed.

7:20 AM  
Blogger Martha Ross said...

A $10 writing assignment? It sounds like anoter attempt by a big media organization to attempt to cash in on the hyperlocal market, and to pay dirt cheap wages for local writers. I say this as a local blogger who has blogged on a pro bono basis, and as an editor for a Aol/Patch site.

All I can say is that it is a scary time to be a journalist, even if you are on salary some place.

7:29 PM  

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