Yahoo! elevates blogs to stand alongside traditional news

Yahoo! is pushing blogs further into the spotlight as it supplements its news search service with a feature that supplies relevant blogs alongside news from more traditional sources.

The new service has gone live on Yahoo! News, which delivers the blog search results in a box to the right of the main search results page.

For example, searching Yahoo! for news about the fire that destroyed the warehouse of Wallace & Gromit creators Aardman Animation will deliver articles from news sources about the fire, but it also has links to blogs that have written about the story including The Dead Parrot Society, The Gossipist and Mile High Comics.

A search on "Balakot", one of the towns razed by the Kashmir earthquake at the weekend, reveals links to only two blogs, as well as two news services, one of which is MSN.

The move will once again raise questions about the place that blogging has in reporting events as they unfold.

During the recent disaster that followed Hurricane Katrina, the internet's role was crucial in coordinating lists of the missing and getting information out to the wider world.

Other well-known examples of blogs providing information that other reporters could not reach include Salam Pax, a Baghdad resident who kept a blog during the invasion of Iraq.

Separately, Yahoo! unveiled a podcasting service yesterday. It will allow people to download content from around the world to be played back on digital music devices.

Content will come from sources such as National Public Radio and the weekly US Presidential address, to lesser known shows such as 'Fantasy Focus', the fantasy sports show, and 'KnitCast', for knitting enthusiasts.

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