Yahoo Bets on Citizen Journalism

    August 3, 2005

Over the past few months Yahoo has been recruiting a slew of veteran online journalists.

In many cases these hires have a particular expertise in social media. The latest, according to Matt McAlister (one of these smart folks), is pioneer Elizabeth Osder. He’s pointing to a report that she reported to work yesterday at the Yahoo Media Group as its senior director, social media, reporting to Neil Budde, executive producer of Yahoo News. PaidContent writes…

“She’ll be responsible for what Yahoo Media VP Scott Moore tells me is one of his top three initiatives. (The other two are broadband and the user experience.) Moore said Osder’s hiring is ‘a clear indicator of our intention to go deep in social media and user-generated content.’ Her initial task will be to set up a plan that integrates Yahoo’s growing phalanx of social media tools — Yahoo 360, Flickr, etc. — with an emphasis on interesting user-generated content.”

So what’s going on at Yahoo? Here’s my bet. The company – at least in news – has never been one to succeed by creating a lot of content of their own (who remembers Yahoo! Finance Vision?).’s more, Fortune reports that the company’s relationships with content partners is tenuous at best. Finally, Yahoo is dabbling in news blogs. I think you’re going to see them turn to citizen media and blogs to continue doing what Yahoo does best, differentiating through human aggregation.

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Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.