Kara Swisher

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Exclusive: Yahoo Nabs Jai Singh From AOL's HuffPo as Editor-in-Chief

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According to sources close to the situation, Yahoo has grabbed one of Huffington Post’s top editors, Jai Singh, to become its editor-in chief.

The move is a big one in the online editorial arena. Before moving to the HuffPo as managing editor in 2009, which is now the key content unit of AOL, Singh ran CNET Networks.

UPDATE: Yahoo confirmed the hiring in a press release below.

A Huffington Post spokesman said:

“This is about geography–Jai made clear his desire to move back to California, where his family is located. He moved from California to work with us and, unfortunately, this job requires his being in the newsroom in New York. We loved working with him, wish him well with his new job, and look forward to staying in touch.”

Sources said Yahoo sent out an internal memo earlier tonight outlining the move, which is a whole new role at Yahoo. It’s below–natch!–from Yahoo Media head Mickie Rosen.

Hi Americas!

As we discussed at last week’s All Hands, we will continue to strengthen and grow Yahoo!’s position as the premier digital media company by expanding our original content, bringing unique voice to each property, turning Yahoo! into the place for big events, and helping to drive best-in-class tools and practices in social, SEO and publishing tools and operations.

In just the past few days since we were together, we set new records with our coverage of the Royal Wedding. And with last night’s news of Osama bin Laden’s death, we will likely create new ones. This proves the point that consumers turn to Yahoo! to be entertained and informed. We are the place consumers turn to when news happens.

With this context, I am thrilled to announce that Jai Singh will be joining Yahoo! as the Editor-in-Chief of the Yahoo! Media Network. Jai joins from AOL, where he was managing editor of the Huffington Post Media Group, responsible for the day-to-day editorial operations of all AOL content.

Prior to AOL, Jai was the Managing Editor of the Huffington Post where he developed its voice, doubled its number of vertical sections, and helped grow unique users by six-fold. Prior to the Huffington Post, Jai created CNET News.com in 1996, which quickly became a leading authority in technology news. As the editor-in-chief and senior vice president, he was in charge of all editorial and built a news staff that won scores of national journalism awards.

Jai will start May 31st. Below is the press release announcing his appointment.

Go Yahoo!

Best,

Mickie

And here’s the official press release about Singh, which is oddly buried in news of Yahoo’s performance in its Royal Wedding coverage:

Yahoo! Sets Records With The Royal Wedding;
Drives Largest Traffic Day for Single Event

Names Jai Singh Editor-in-Chief of Yahoo! Media Network

SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 2, 2011–Yahoo! Inc. drove its largest traffic numbers for a single event last week when the world turned to the company for coverage of the Royal Wedding. Over a 24-hour period on Friday, April 29, 2011, Yahoo! drove more traffic and video to its coverage of the wedding than any previous event.

Preliminary internal data shows that Yahoo! sites serving Royal Wedding content drove 400 million page views on Friday, slightly higher than the traffic levels experienced following the Japan earthquake. Yahoo! delivered Royal Wedding content at a record-breaking 50,000 requests per second on Friday, seven times the average daily peak of approximately 7,500, and video traffic was 21% higher than the previous record. In comparison, there were approximately 33,000 requests-per-second following the Japan earthquake and today, at press time, peak requests-per-second was 40,000 for content related to the death of Osama bin Laden. Yahoo! also drove approximately 30 million unique users, 27 million video streams and 2.6 million live video streams over the 24-hour period on Friday.

In the last three months, coverage of the Royal Wedding and the Academy Awards has demonstrated that Yahoo! is where global consumers come to be entertained with rich content no other online company offers. Similarly, when news breaks, Yahoo! is the world’s trusted source for in-depth coverage, from the ongoing crisis in Japan to the death of Osama bin Laden. Yahoo! is the number one online site, reaching 180 million unique users and maintains a portfolio of 10 number one sites in the U.S., including Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Sports, Yahoo! Finance, omg!, Yahoo! Shopping, Yahoo! Real Estate and Yahoo! TV (data: comScore March 2011). Yahoo! attracts more than 680 million users globally.

In effort to extend and accelerate the company’s leadership positions and further develop a unique and distinct voice across its brands, Yahoo! today announced that it has appointed Jai Singh, editor-in-chief for the Yahoo! Media Network.

As editor-in-chief, Singh will help transform the company as it increases its original content creation, build the unique voice and programming of Yahoo!’s leading properties, and help drive best-in-class tools and practices–such as publishing platforms, aggressive social and SEO distribution–and programming across all platforms. Singh will be a key member of the Yahoo! Media Network leadership team led by Mickie Rosen, senior vice president of Yahoo! Media Network. Based in Sunnyvale, Calif., Singh starts May 31 and will be spending significant time with editorial teams based in Santa Monica, Calif., and New York City.

“Jai’s appointment comes on the heels of one of the most event-filled news weeks in Yahoo! history, which underscores the importance of our editorial operations,” said Rosen. “Jai is one of the most advanced and respected editorial thinkers in digital media today, and a great addition to our editorial bench strength. It’s clear that when news breaks, the world turns to Yahoo!. Shaping our unique voice, and establishing industry best practices for the next generation of publishing will further Yahoo!’s success as the premier digital media company.”

Singh was most recently managing editor of the Huffington Post Media Group where he was in charge of all day-to-day news management and editorial operations. His responsibilities spanned across both Huffington Post editorial as well as AOL, including AOL content sites. In the two years Singh was at the Huffington Post, the site saw unprecedented growth–the number of sections more than doubled to 24, as did the number of editorial staff, and unique visitors grew nearly six fold, according to Comscore. Besides running the editorial operations, Singh helped drive product development in close partnership with the technology team. Singh was also the main point-of-contact and worked closely with Sales, Sales Development and Business Development.

Prior to the Huffington Post, Singh created CNET News.com in 1996, which quickly became a leading authority in technology news at the height of the Internet boom. At CNET.com, as the editor-in-chief and senior vice president, Singh was in charge of all editorial, including news and product reviews, as well as product development. Singh built a news staff that won scores of national journalism awards at atime when mainstream media were still skeptical of the Internet as a source of credible information.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work