Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Yahoo’s Mayer on the Talent Hunt for Tech Journalists (Even From AllThingsD!)

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This weekend, a Yahoo recruiter tried to poach two of our fine AllThingsD reporters for what was described as a “new initiative within our Tech Vertical.”

According to the recruiter, who used LinkedIn for the outreach, the effort had the “backing of [Yahoo CEO] Marissa Mayer, as well as many of our executives, and will be the first of many of these types of editorial models that we expect to roll out globally within the next year.”

As I had previously written, Mayer is pushing a new content effort that will focus on bringing big content to Yahoo, including the recent splashy hiring of the New York Times’ gadget reviewer, David Pogue, also for the tech effort. She has also been in talks with well-known television news star Katie Couric about an interview-type show that would appear on the homepage.

Among many execs in the Web space, Mayer has always been more attracted to the flashier media scene, having struck deals for Google to buy content properties like Zagat while she was there. But, let’s be clear, none of her efforts there were particularly successful.

Additional efforts to up Yahoo’s content business will require the hiring of a top media exec to replace recently departed media chief Mickie Rosen. Internal sources said that Mayer has said she is aiming to hire a top television exec for the job, to underscore the company’s commitment to video.

For now, it seems, tech is just the start, according to the email from the Yahoo recruiter, without any reference to a very similar previous Yahoo effort called Tech Ticker, which petered out many years ago. And, years before that, there was another content effort, called Finance Vision.

In other words, Yahoo has been no Netflix in its many efforts to jump into the content space, save for a series of light Web shows like “Primetime in No Time.”

One show, though — “Burning Love,” created and commissioned under former media head Ross Levinsohn — has generated a lot of buzz and traffic.

Mayer seems to have even bigger plans, though, using tech an some sort of “anchor.”

“The initiative is a news website, focused on technology, that is extremely social friendly and another way to drive significant traffic back to our platform,” wrote the recruiter. “We have identified this endeavor as a key anchor of our media strategy and a high growth opportunity for the media organization.”

It’s nice to see Mayer finally acknowledging the importance of what tech journalists do, even if it means she is trying to fish in our pond.

(Marissa, bygones on the poaching, as I see it as a compliment to our excellent work at AllThingsD! So, let’s have a just-us-media-ladies lunch, and I can explain how a tech blog works and stuff.)

Here’s the full email to one of our staffers this weekend:

I am the North American Recruiting Lead for Yahoo’s Global Media and Commerce organization.

We are currently looking for strong editorial professional to join the staff running a new initiative within our Tech Vertical. This venture has the backing of Marissa Mayer, as well as many of our executives, and will be the first of many of these types of editorial models that we expect to roll out globally within the next year. The initiative is a news website, focused on technology, that is extremely social friendly and another way to drive significant traffic back to our platform. We have identified this endeavor as a key anchor of our media strategy and a high growth opportunity for the media organization. I was hoping to connect with you as I thought your background was quite interesting for the opportunity.

Please understand that we are operating under a very quick timeline — Would you be open to discussing the role?

I’d welcome the opportunity to discuss your background and Yahoo! in more detail.


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