November 26, 2013
Marissa Mayer is, no doubt, doing the happy dance today.
Yahoo’s CEO announced late yesterday that popular TV news personality Katie Couric has joined the Internet company as its global anchor.
As such, the 56-year-old news veteran will be the face of Yahoo News as well as shoot features for Yahoo’s homepage.
“I have always been interested in online and social media and have been trying to figure a way to straddle both worlds,” Couric told the New York Times. “I like being of the moment and embracing what’s happening.”
She added that she would be “involved in shaping what Yahoo News will look like.”
Couric’s signing on with Yahoo will undoubtedly be a major boost to Mayer’s efforts to make the search engine firm the destination of choice for online news seekers.
To that end, she has already recruited well-known New York Times technology writer David Pogue, New York Times editor Megan Liberman and Matt Bai, former chief political correspondent for the New York Times Magazine.
According to a blog post by Mayer, Couric will, beginning in early 2014, head Yahoo’s growing team of news correspondents with the goal of covering “the world’s most interesting stories and newsmakers.”
“I’ve always respected Katie for her thoughtful, charismatic approach to journalism,” Mayer wrote. “From pivotal coverage of natural disasters and historic elections to the Royal Wedding and the Olympic Games, groundbreaking interviews with heads of state and leading tastemakers, her experience is unmatched. Katie is dynamic, savvy and has a way of connecting with viewers that I really admire.”
Couric will also continue with ‘Katie,’ her syndicated weekday talk show with ABC.
Mayer said Couric will be instrumental in “pioneering a new chapter of digital journalism,” adding that Yahoo is “investing in bringing our users the absolute best content and video experiences available — and this is just the beginning.”
According to Bloomberg, ABC released Couric from an agreement to produce segments exclusively for its news network to enable her to participate in the talks with Yahoo, which started this summer.
The network will decide if it will renew ‘Katie’ for a third season sometime next month, Disney-ABC Domestic Television said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg.
Couric is best known for her longtime role on NBC’s ‘Today Show’ and, more recently, as news anchor for CBS.
Yahoo’s bid to nab Couric is just the beginning of Mayer’s strategy to revitalize the Internet firm, however. She, apparently, is also going after popular entertainment host Ryan Seacrest.
A source told Tech Crunch Mayer is discussing “interesting business opportunities” with Seacrest’s production company. The source said any type of partnership would be to create original content, although it is not known if it will be written or video.
If Seacrest joins Yahoo’s team, he will no doubt head the firm’s entertainment department.
The roles of the other big names recruited by Mayer are:
• Pogue — As head of a new consumer-tech site for Yahoo, Pogue will “will publish columns, blog posts and video stories that demystify the gadgets, apps and technology that powers our users’ daily lives.”
• Liberman — As editor in chief, Liberman “will lead a major expansion of Yahoo News, bringing in new voices and defining features for the site. She will focus primarily on original reporting, social news gathering, video and live events coverage.”
• Bai — As national political columnist, Bai will offer “unique commentary and deep analysis” of U.S. politics.
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.