Like Yahoo!, McClatchy is a company with California roots. Ours run a little deeper, though, having been planted in the gold fields around Sacramento in 1857. Just last February, we threw a party in our hometown to celebrate 150 years in the news business.
Which might lead you to ask, "Why is Yahoo! announcing a deal with some company that was founded before the advent of electric lights?" For us, however, it seems like an obvious next step in the continued evolution of the way people get their news.
The press release outlines the basics: McClatchy, the country's third largest newspaper publisher with 31 daily and 50 weekly newspapers and a big Internet portfolio, is going to start providing next-generation international news for some of the Yahoo! News pages. To start, we'll be looking especially to our foreign bureaus: Baghdad, Cairo, Jerusalem and Beijing are first in line to contribute, scheduled to begin early in the second quarter.
They won't just be sending news stories, though that's a foundation for the plan. In addition, they'll produce blogs available only at Yahoo! and McClatchy that take readers deeper — "behind the headlines" is the applicable cliché. Called "Trusted Voices," we'll encourage them to color outside the lines of traditional journalism in their blogs, offering readers a boots-on-the-ground perspective from the Arab street in Egypt or the increasingly crowded slopes of Everest (to name two of their recent datelines). Maybe Hannah Allam will provide a list of the Egyptian websites or blogs she finds most useful in understanding politics there; Dion Nissenbaum might help you unravel the political connections of those Israeli newspapers you always hear quoted. Tim Johnson, who covers China and Asia from Beijing, could offer insight into obstacles facing people thinking about going for the Olympics in 2008.
Some of these will be new efforts launched especially for this Yahoo! partnership; others are already under way. Tim's been blogging from China for years at China Rises. The Iraqi employees at our Baghdad bureau offer a gritty, street-level view of the war no non-native reporter could duplicate at their group blog Inside Iraq.
Their English isn't always perfect; their authenticity is beyond question. A recent post began like this: "Now and while I'm writing these words, the American troops are attacking a part of my neighborhood west Baghdad. At the same time, I got a call from my nephew that some insurgents are attacking her neighborhood south west Baghdad." Another one included this chilling, understated opening: "Every time I tell myself that my next blog will be a pleasant story of days of old, I am confronted with a different story that needs to be told. A friend of mine called me to tell me the bad news. Her brother had been kidnapped, and the ransom set at $100,000. For any Iraqi, such an amount spells disaster."
When the trans-continental telegraph started delivering same-day news from the East Coast to Sacramento in 1861, McClatchy's Sacramento Bee newspaper had to start doing things differently. Same with commercial radio, and then television, and then this browser-thingie that showed up in the early 1990s. (McClatchy's Raleigh News & Observer newspaper started Nando Times,widely credited as one of the first Internet news sites.)
Adaptation, change and competition are part of our DNA at McClatchy — and have been for 150 years. We're excited about this chance to join the folks with the world's biggest news audience in exploring the next phase of the adventure. Keep an eye out for our "Trusted Voices" in Yahoo! News, and please let me know what you think, what else you'd like, and what we could do better.
Vice President, News
The McClatchy Co.
hweaver at mcclatchy dot com