Guardian hires Yahoo! developer head to build platform

It’s highly significant that The Guardian newspaper has just made a major hire direct out of Yahoo! in the US to begin building some kind of development platform.

Matt McAlister, currently the director of Yahoo’s developer network in San Francisco, is to become head of the Guardian’s development network from the end of April. He’ll be reporting in to Mike Bracken, recently appointed to the new post of technology director for development at Guardian News & Media (GNM).

McAlister was an early proponent of RSS and social media, joining Yahoo in August 2005, and even joined the Hack Day London event last year. Previously he was with online media title InfoWorld and was the first employee at former dotcom magazine The Industry Standard in 1997. I should also disclose that he is a former colleague at The Industry Standard Europe, which we launched in London back in 2000.

Bracken says we should now “think about the Guardian as a platform, and not just a publisher.” This is a major signal that the media group will now be looking to work with developers and tech startups.

He added:

“We want to allow people to connect, and will provide data that people they can reuse and be creative with a vehicle that will help engage smaller agencies and development teams in other companies to create applications.”

McAlister has added on his own blog that there are “plans to open up data and services for developers.”
It’s going to be extremely interesting to see what they come up with.