Did you know that Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995 gave life to what we now know as Yahoo! News? On that grim day for Deadheads everywhere, co-founder David Filo compiled a webpage with links and outsourced information on Garcia’s life and death. That was the first example of Yahoo! gathering the most relevant content around a news topic, regardless of where it came from. Today Yahoo! News is excited to continue in David’s footsteps — in Web 2.0 fashion.
Alan Warms today joins Yahoo! as the general manager of News through the acquisition of BuzzTracker. BuzzTracker does just what the name insists — it tracks 110,000 content sources (traditional media and blogs) to take the pulse of what’s happening in various topic areas on the Net. Alan and the folks at BuzzTracker have come up with a way to spotlight the hottest information and give users a tool that makes the information easily digestible.
I've known Alan for years, but we got reacquainted at the All Things D conference in May. I realized then that we share the same vision for news — providing the best news content possible, whether traditional or citizen journalism, to a mainstream audience while making the technology invisible. He's a serial entrepreneur with a history of developing new media technologies, but his mantra is "Does it pass the Mom test?" Alan has both fantastic editorial judgment and a strong business sense — a boon to both our users and advertisers.
Yahoo! News is the number one news site with 35 million readers per month (that’s about 15 times the circulation of the largest newspaper in the U.S.!) and while we know we’re doing something right, we recognize there are still many opportunities ahead. Does this signal a radical shift for how we'll run Yahoo! News? No. BuzzTracker technology will help improve the breadth and relevancy of our content — regardless of the source. But with Alan on board, we'll bring organization to the thousands of conversations happening across the Internet and help users better sift through the news to find what they care about most.
Here's Alan's take on it.
Head of News & Information