In a blog post today, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer confirmed and elaborated on Yahoo’s decision to hire Katie Couric as Global Anchor for a team that includes David Pogue, Megan Liberman and Matt Bai. Mayer noted that Couric will be instrumental in “pioneering a new chapter of digital journalism” given that Yahoo is “investing in bringing our users the absolute best content and video experiences available.” The decision to hire Couric illustrates the seriousness of Mayer’s interest in re-orienting Yahoo towards video-based contemporary media coverage delivered via the internet. As a technology company, the move towards video represents a distinct effort on the part of Yahoo to compete with Google’s YouTube-based video supremacy, although Mayer’s interest clearly rests in redefining the meaning of contemporary news coverage.
A disruption in the way contemporary news is operated and delivered would be nothing short of opportune given the media ecosystem’s dependence on sensationalist and anecdotal stories to drive traffic on the theory that a certain percentage of such stories will go viral. The obvious question accompanying Couric’s hiring, however, is whether Mayer and Yahoo have thought through a platform and operational process to deliver curated, original, high quality, personalized media content that sets a new standard for digital journalism and contributes to the revolution in information delivery enabled by Yahoo’s position as a technology company, its experience with Big Data and enviable roster of media personalities. Katie will start her new role as Global Anchor of Yahoo sometime early in 2014 but will continue hosting her talk show “Katie” on ABC.