Yahoo hires TV news anchor Katie Couric

Yahoo Inc. has lured TV news anchor Katie Couric to lead the Internet company’s growing news department.

Couric, who has been a television host on all the Big Three TV networks in the United States throughout her career, is the latest addition to the lineup of popular journalists hired by Yahoo in an effort to lift its profile.

“Starting in early 2014, Katie will lead a growing team of correspondents at Yahoo News who will cover the world’s most interesting stories and newsmakers,” said Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO in a statement yesterday. “…From pivotal coverage of natural disaster and historic elections to the Royal Wedding and Olympic Games, groundbreaking interviews with heads of state and leading tastemakers, her experience is unmatched.”

As Yahoo’s global anchor, Couric joins of big name journalist like David Pogue, New York Times’ technology columnist; and Megan Liberman, the Times deputy news editor.

Yahoo critically needs to bump up its original news content in order to get more Internet viewers to visit its site and by so doing sell more ads, according to observers.

However, Yahoo needs to “focus more on insights rather than personality,” said Al Tompkins, senior faculty member for online and broadcasting at the Poynter Institute, a non-profit journalism training organization.

Couric is not a journalist that people identify with investigative reporting, he said in an interview with technology news publication

“I don’t know what she will bring that Yahoo couldn’t get somewhere else,” he said.

Couric worked for NBC News from 1989 to 2006 and for CBC News from 2006 to 2011 after which she joined ABC News. In 2012, she hosted an online show for ABC titled Katie’s Take which also aired weekly on Yahoo. That year she also hosted a syndicated talk show called Katie, which was produced by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. She has anchored CBS Evening News, hosted Today and reported for 60 Minutes.

There is a growing trend towards merging different media such as television and the Internet.

For example Twitter has been positioning itself as a “second screen” for TV viewers by partnering with broadcast stations and offering apps that allow viewers to post tweets on TV and provide broadcasters and marketers with social analytics tools.

Mayer is currently leading what some say could be the return to profitability and relevance of Yahoo.

Apart from scaling out its news team, Yahoo has also diversified to other content streams that include photo-hosting with Flickr, social networking with Tumblr, search ads, advertising and email.

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Nestor E. Arellano
Nestor E. Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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