Long-time New York Times columnist David Pogue made waves this past Monday when word emerged that he was leaving the Times for a position at Yahoo.
Now, you might be wondering: why in the world would a respected columnist like Pogue leave an established paper like the Times for a place like Yahoo?
Well, Yahoo under the command of Marissa Mayer has been making a lot of interesting moves in the mobile space. Overall, Mayer is dead set on making Yahoo a hot property once again. Yahoo isn't quite the attractive place to work as it once as, but Mayer is steadily making a number of improvements to change that.
That said, Pogue will be spearheading a new tech-oriented site under the Yahoo umbrella. What's more, he'll be given carte blanche to really let his creative juices flow.
In a goodbye note written on his tumblr page (remember, Yahoo recently acquired tumblr), Pogue wrote in part:
But 13 years is a long time to stay in one place; we all thrive on new experiences. So I was intrigued when Yahoo invited me to help build a new consumer-tech site.
Actually, “site” doesn’t even cover it. I’ll be writing columns and blog posts each week, of course, and making my goofy videos. But my team and I have much bigger plans, too, for all kinds of online and real-world creations.
Now, listen: I realize that Yahoo is an underdog. I’ve given them a few swift kicks myself over the years.
But over the last few months, as I’ve pondered this offer, I’ve visited Yahoo headquarters. I’ve spent a lot of time with its executives. And what I found surprised me.
This is a company that’s young, revitalized, aggressive — and, under Marissa Mayer’s leadership, razor-focused, for the first time in years. Since she took over a year ago, Yahoo has regained its position as the #1 most visited Web site on earth. She’s overseen brilliant overhauls of several Yahoo sites and apps, and had the courage to shut down the derelict ones.
Fans of Pogue shouldn't despair, though. He notes that he'll keep up his other activities, such as his Missing Manual books and his NOVA specials on PBS.
In a follow-up interview with Forbes, Pogue shed even more light on why he chose to leave the Times. Again, the opportunity at Yahoo gives him a lot more room for him to leverage his creativity.
No, I wasn’t thinking of leaving The Times. I loved it there. I figured I’d stay forever, if they’d let me! But Yahoo approached me this summer with an offer I couldn’t refuse: amazing publishing freedom (in frequency, column length, format, and timing); all the creative possibilities that come with being digital (audio, video, real-time reader interaction); and, of course, Yahoo’s absolutely enormous readership, which just hit 800 million readers a month.
With Walt Mossberg out of the mix at the Wall Street Journal, it's sure an interesting time in the tech journalism world. It'll certainly be interesting to see how Pogue fares at Yahoo.