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McClatchy-Yahoo Content Deal a Pathbreaker

Howard Weaver, McClatchy’s VP for news, explains in “Foreign correspondence for Yahoo! News” why the deal the companies have made breaks new ground:

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.

This is the kind of thing news organizations should be doing as a matter of routine. McClatchy and Yahoo are changing the industry with this move. Let’s see who follows.

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