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Yahoo enters mobile publishing realm

Ya-who? It’s no secret Yahoo has had some struggles, having reduced their workforce by four per cent just recently, with competitors Google and Facebook taking some of their major market share in display advertising.

There is hope, however. The New York Times recently reported Yahoo, no stranger to personalized content on its online properties, will announce its plans to release a personal mobile publishing platform. The project was initially named “Deadeye.” This platform will allow smartphone and tablet users to get personalized content on cell phones and other mobile devices by taking into account a user’s preferred search items, social media, etc.Yahoo’s chief executive, Carol A. Bartz will reveal more details during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week.

For news-hungy types, this matters. Personalized content is what people expect from news organizations now. With countless voices yapping online, there’s a need to cut through the noise. AOL, for instance, plans to release Editions, an iPad app that gathers info from a user’s social networking feed and then displays everything like a magazine you can flip through at your convenience – its tagline is “The magazine that reads you.”

Yahoo still attracts anywhere from 600 to 650 million unique page visitors a month.“If Yahoo wants to be a key, global player, it needs to have a compelling mobile strategy,” a company analyst told NYT. “In our view, in the next three to five years, mobile activity will grow three to four times faster than PC-based internet activity.”

Editor of The Tyee weighs in on UBB

As journalists continue to report and opine on the Usage-Based Billing debacle, it’s important to remember that news organizations have just as big a stake as everyone else. David Beers, editor-in-chief of The Tyee,has written columns for the Globe’s site as well as his own against measures that would see bandwidth-heavy sites become even more expensive to users.

Online journalism doesn’t consist of recycled text and photos from the print edition anymore. Journalists deal in information, and information online is increasingly video-based or interactive. As Beers points out, it’s not easy for cash-strapped publications to keep up with the multimedia shift, and UBB would make it even more costly to produce quality stories. Not to mention, plenty of publications are aiming to operate purely over the Internet or mobile devices.

To get a sense of how the UBB decision might affect quality journalism, check out some online innovations like OpenFile’s Remembrance Day project from last year, or multimedia madness platform Popcorn.js(recently used on PBS here).

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About the author

Michael Huynh was the Head of Research for the Summer 2011 issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism.

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