Yahoo and Newsy - Gauging Audience Insights

By Kyle Luke | August 4, 2010

Yahoo! News is changing the way they approach news production. Instead of aggregating sources the way it has been since it launched, it is adopting a Newsy-esque model of combining news with analysis. Editorial choices are made with an eye towards 'audience insights' - looking at the stories users are searching for, as well as how users respond to a story, which ones they open and 'like,' 'tweet' and 'share.'


Like Newsy, Yahoo is using algorithm-driven search results as a variable in deciding what to cover, and how to cover it. In recent interviews with WebNewser and All Things D, Yahoo! VP of Media Jay Pitaro was asked about the role of search results in the editorial mix.


The question posed to Pitaro was one I've posed here. Will this new 'democratic' method ultimately lead to homogenized news coverage? Pitaro responds beautifully. For both Yahoo and Newsy, considering what stories people are searching for is only one variable in its editorial equation.


For Newsy, audience insight is important for determining what to cover and the use of different sources in our videos complicates the mix. It adds more traditionally editorial voices to the conversation. Furthermore, 'linking out' to the sources used situates the news consumer into the broader conversation on the topic.


The use of search has the effect of including the news consumer in the editorial process - what is 'newsworthy ' is no longer decided by the fourth estate. Users tell us what they want, and we give it to them in easy to consume nuggets. Just the way they like it.