Katie Couric had a lot to say about Yahoo, and about tech companies vs. media companies, on an episode of Kara Swisher’s Recode Decode that crossed over with Couric’s podcast.
Recode quotes Couric saying: “I would say to the Yahoo folks, ‘Could we please do a newsletter? I’ll push out everyone’s content. They hired some big names, and yet they were in the witness protection program.”
Recode adds: “During her tenure at Yahoo, Couric sought to do high-quality journalism rather than the lower-rent stories Yahoo was best known for at the time, which she likened to ‘the boy who lived on ramen noodles for 13 years.’ She said then-CEO Marissa Mayer was open to those aspirations, but didn’t follow through.”
Couric said of Mayer: “I don’t think she ever understood the commitment that would take. And I think she had a lot of other things on her plate, in fairness. I wouldn’t say it was an unhappy marriage, but it certainly was not fulfilling for me. I had all this great content, I was getting big interviews, and it was sort of like a tree falling in the forest.”
She added: “They didn’t put it on the front page or they didn’t know how to — even now, they don’t have very good distribution. They didn’t really know how to market things properly. They didn’t know how to take quality and make it scalable.”
“These tech companies are not media companies,” Couric said, adding: “They do not care about stories, about content, about true connection. I think they care about widgets and gadgets and delivery systems, but they aren’t super-interested in the vegetable soup that’s running through the pipes.”