Gawker Media's Nick Denton tweeted around 12:30 PM today: "Damn! Gawker's awesome John Cook is about to disappear into the maw of Yahoo. Someone else -- WSJ? -- should save him. We tried." Of course this sounded rather skeptical, coming on April 1st and I said so into the twittersphere. Nick responded to my tweet: "You're right to be skeptical. It is April 1st and that Yahoo news bloglomerate is a bad joke. But Cook is leaving."
As TheAwl noted in a post soonafter, "This is Yahoo's bazillionth hire in the last few months." Some of their most recent hires include: Chris Lehmann from The Awl and BookForum, Michael Calderone formerly of Politico and The Observer (whose new media hire was duly broken by HuffPo), Anna Robertson, a news producer from ABC’s 'Good Morning America (who tweeted yesterday: "@jaketapper i miss you all. don't miss 4 AM.")' and Jane Sasseen, formerly of BusinessWeek. From The NYTimes:
In February, Yahoo News had over 43 million visitors, more than any other news site, according to comScore, a research company.
The journalists have been hired to create original articles and videos on topics like politics and media. The coverage will complement the news articles that Yahoo licenses from other media organizations and brings together on its site.
The move mirrors a successful push by Yahoo into original sports coverage some three years ago, with the hiring of sports journalists and the acquisition of Rivals.com, a network of sports blogs. Yahoo began that push after a more costly and ambitious effort to create original television-style programming faltered.
“My hopes are to continue to build out a voice for our media properties and to replicate the success we have had in Yahoo Sports,” said James Pitaro, head of media at Yahoo.
Cook was an interesting hire for Gawker. He came along at a time when Gawker was evolving away from it's beginnings as the proto New York media-centric site towards becoming a national gossip site. Cook told John Koblin of The Observer:
"Nick and [Gawker editor] Gabriel [Snyder] and I had been talking about—and this is Nick’s term—is iterative reporting, or iterative journalism," he said. "One of the things we want to do is the kind of story that would be potentially a two-, a three-, a four-, or five-thousand-word investigative-type story that might be in a magazine or newspaper but do it one post at a time and toss seeds out and threads out and see what happens."
He'd been working at Gawker for a little more than a year.