Yahoo! News Director Foresees Friendly Coexistence With Media Companies
"The days when people bought a self-contained package are starting to erode," said Budde. "And because a lot of the economics of the industry were tied to that packaging, the relationship between publisher, advertiser, and reader will never be the same."
Since Budde came to Yahoo!, the company has already redesigned its own news site, and as of Thursday, positioned its revamped site--released in beta in mid-April--as its default news page. Yahoo! has moved the site's navigation options from a vertical layout flanking the left side of the page to a horizontal one on top of the page. The site also now offers more defined links and a wider area for stories.
And while Yahoo! may compete with news publishers' sites, Budde reinforced his position that Yahoo! is not a news publisher--at least not in the traditional sense. "Our specialty is the technology that improves the news gathering experience for users," Budde said. "Lloyd Braun said something in a meeting yesterday that I really agree with: We want to be best friends with media companies, and coexist with them."
Budde continued: "The Internet will only become a better, more profitable proposition for publishers as long as they can reach audiences on a large scale, which our site facilitates." That is, of course, if they are one of about 100 news organizations that have agreements with Yahoo! News so it can display and link to their content. Users also can search through about 7,000 additional online news sources that Yahoo! catalogs for information.
"Our role is to provide the most compelling entry point out there, and then all the publishers we have relationships with will benefit," said Budde.
In response to the public's interest in a broad selection of sources, the new site invites users to pick and choose from the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, Washingtonpost.com, USATODAY.com, and The Christian Science Monitor, among others. "It's all in an effort to give readers as much perspective as possible in as simple and concise a format as possible."
For that, Yahoo! has no reporters, but between 10 and 20 editorial staffers who are responsible for monitoring and repackaging much of the news content that Yahoo!'s automated system brings in.
Another new feature that Budde has great hope for is "My Sources," which allows readers to act as their own editors, tying other news feeds from around the Web into their regular content consumption via RSS. "Online news consumption will continue to evolve in a combination of aggregation and editorial content," Budde said. "We want to give users a compelling new package with all the ready recourses to control their consumption."