Yahoo Sports has had an impressive 4-year run, gobbling up newspaper writers, breaking significant sports stories (Reggie Bush, Jim Calhoun, etc), and overtaking ESPN as the most-visited sports site on the web. But it seems as if the department is at a bit of a crossroads. Since Dave Morgan, the man chiefly responsible for all those hires, became the executive editor for Yahoo North America, the sports department has been thrown into “chaos” a source tells The Big Lead.
The source says that the new guy running sports, Kyle Laughlin, has “jerked around” writers such as Jason Cole, Michael Silver and Adrian Wojnarowski in contract negotiations, and recently bungled the attempted hiring of Thayer Evans, who left the New York Times [Ed. To be clear, he was a part-timer] for Fox Sports. (Evans, apparently, had been coveted by Yahoo for a few years; in addition, Yahoo made a run at Pete Thamel of the Times last year, but struck out as well.) In a phone conversation, Laughlin stressed that Yahoo Sports had only lost two writers, one of whom left the business (Josh Peter) and the other (Gordon Edes) left for (basically) his hometown outlet (ESPNBoston.com). Laughlin added that he had no communication with Evans. Our source says the aforementioned factors have led to fear within Yahoo Sports that all the equity the writers built up with original reporting in the last few years will be wasted, and it makes them ripe for poaching by rival outlets (such as ESPN and Fox Sports).
Silver and Wojnarowski declined to comment via email; Cole and Thamel didn’t return emails seeking comment, and we could not find contact information for Evans. Morgan, when reached for comment, said, “No one is going anywhere. Yahoo’s commitment to original content and original reporting remains steadfast. We feel a lot of loyalty to the people who helped us achieve our incredible success.”