Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Yahoo Media Chief Jimmy Pitaro Talks About the Upshot of Content's Future

Whilst in Santa Monica, Calif., this week, BoomTown stopped in at the YahooPlex for a quick chat with the Internet giant’s Jimmy Pitaro, who is VP of media.

The focus was a high-profile blog called The Upshot, Yahoo’s effort to delve deeper into the new push to determine content selections based on search.

While some consider such efforts as a “democratizing” of the news, others are more concerned about relying on algorithms to determine the best coverage and the implications for a society guided by its own searches.

That has not stopped the trend from growing, with companies such as Demand Media using freelancers to create millions of articles. Yahoo recently bought a competitor, Associated Content, to jump into the game.

The Upshot is a little different, essentially using analysis of popular search words or topics to inform the news staff.

Articles are then produced for the Yahoo blog based on this audience data, on a wider range of coverage than the more typical how-to articles produced using this method.

In this video, Pitaro dismissed worries that Yahoo (YHOO) coverage would be guided solely by a formula for user-driven, advertiser-coddling, money-making-only content, but it is clear the idea of using search as an editorial tool is the wave of the future as far as Yahoo is concerned.

Here’s the interview:


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald