Yahoo Inc. online news search tool on Monday added Internet journal entries as a supplement to professional media offerings — an experiment that figures to test the public's appetite for information from alternative sources.
Under Yahoo's new approach, a keyword search for online news will include a list of relevant Web logs, or "blogs," displayed in a box to the right of the results collected from mainstream journalism.
Google Inc., which runs the Internet's leading search engine, so far has treated blogs differently.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company last month introduced a specialty search engine that does nothing but sift through blogs. Meanwhile, Google's news section continues to focus on material from mainstream media.
Yahoo's inclusion of blogs in its news section represents another validation for a growing group of people that are bypassing newspapers, magazines and broadcast outlets to report and comment on topical events.
Although many top bloggers lack formal journalism training, it hasn't stopped them from building loyal readerships or breaking news that the mainstream media either missed or ignored.
Those scoops have helped rally more support for "citizen journalism" — a cause that Yahoo wanted to recognize by spotlighting some of the news appearing in blogs.
"The traditional media doesn't have the time or resources to cover all the stories going on," said Joff Redfern, a Yahoo product director.
But the blogging community, or "blogosphere," also is filled with rumors and inaccuracies. While the traditional media still faces the same problems, professional newsrooms ostensibly have more checks and balances to guard against incorrect or unsubstantiated information from being published.
That distinction is one of the reasons Yahoo is listing its blog results in a box separated from the roughly 6,500 "trusted" news sources tracked by its search engine, Redfern said.
Yahoo's news users can view blog results exclusively by clicking on the box.
That option also shows relevant images posted on Yahoo's photo-sharing site, Flickr. Amateur photos posted online have drawn particular heavy interest recently after major news events such as the terrorist bombings in London and Hurricane Katrina.
Redfern declined to specify how many blogs are included in Yahoo's news search. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company is inviting bloggers to submit their sites to the Yahoo index.
He said the blog selection would be based on the most popular blogs among Yahoo users.