Yahoo! hires freelance to cover conflict

Yahoo has hired former freelance journalist and veteran war correspondent Kevin Sites to visit ‘every armed conflict’ to offer its users unparalleled coverage of the “world’s most troubled and dangerous places.”

Continuing his pioneering work of solo journalism, Sites will carry a backpack and digital technology to transmit daily reports to the online portal from a tour of 30 ‘conflict zones,’ as identified by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

These war-torn locations include Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and Palestine territories, all of which have hosted conflicts within the last three moths, serving to displace local communities.

Already having travelled to nearly every region of the world, the former freelance will use his wealth of experience travelling without news crews to compose ‘Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone.’

According to Yahoo, the chronicling of “stories in front of and behind the conflict,” will transcend mainstream coverage, evade pack journalism, and provide readers with “the small stories that when strung together illustrate a more complete picture.”

Yet the US site also expects Sites’ coverage to open a global forum for information and involvement, so a ‘borderless’ audience will be empowered to learn about world conflict and “find ways to be part of the solutions.”

This will be achieved by “dialogue, debate and avenues of action,” which users are promised will be conveyed through first class reportage as spelt out by the Society of Professional Journalists, but also influenced by Yahoo’s and Kevin Sites principles.

In order of presentation, these are Transparency – refusing to plug the myth of the infallible reporter; Vulnerability – to live and breathe the hardship of communities; Empathy – to offer clear reportage of differing views, and Solutions – how readers can get involved to make a difference.

Sites only has one year to complete his world tour but the freelance is a veteran at meeting deadlines given previous stints reporting and shooting film for NBC and CNN, among others.

His employment marks Yahoo’s first step into producing original news coverage with a reported second offering in the pipeline.

The company has also disclosed that it’s entry into a nascent market for internet search giants will not affect its relationship with the New York Times.

It is however likely to turn heads at Google and Microsoft; companies that alongside Yahoo are locked in intense competition over online search technology, personal computer software and internet entertainment.

With Google operating a searchable news and blog database, and given Sites is penning his first Hot Zone entry on September 26, it seems the world’s largest software maker is last to the party; should of course, it still wants to compete with its chief internet rivals.



 

20th September 2005

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