January 27, 2015 Last Updated 4:55 pm

CNN doesn’t get the catastrophe it was promoting; investors set to pounce on Yahoo

The state of Indiana to launch its own news agency, designed to feed the press stories, or even break stories themselves about state government

The cable news network CNN bet the farm that the massive snow storm scheduled to hit the Northeast would be one for the record books. For the past 48 hours no other news story was deemed important enough to break the constant coverage.

shelves-snowAnd snow it did. And it’s still snowing. But NYC was spared from the worst of it and now the cable news network sounds terribly disappointed, as it it might have to report on other news. Snow is, you see, an easy story to cover – you stick a camera out the window and say “wow, look at that.” Now that’s news, CNN style.

The constant warnings of impending disaster had its effect, as residents of New England cleared the shelves of their local grocery stores of goods they will never need. But this panic, induced by the cable news networks, became itself news – giving viewers a few moments of seeing something other than those weather maps of doom.

Schools are closed today, but by Wednesday, thanks to a device called a snow plow, roads will be cleared and CNN will have to move on.

Yahoo is set to report earnings after the bell this afternoon, and the financial press is waiting to pounce. Yahoo, and especially Marissa Mayer, has become a bit of a punching bag lately. With a market cap of $46.4 billion, the company is worth less than its share of investments in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Yahoo Japan – and, of course, that makes no sense.

Meyer-featureOne could blame built-in sexism: Mayer is one of the few high-profile women to lead a major tech company. The last high profile woman to do so, Carly Fiorina, is now trying to run for president based on her record at H-P (which is sort of like the idea of naming Herbert Hoover president of GM based on his record in the White House). But Meyer is hardly the kind of warm CEO that the financial press likes.

What investors want to know is what Yahoo plans on doing with its boat load of cash as the company will likely need to acquire something substantial to avoid a big tax bill. With so much money sitting on the sidelines, Yahoo is the company everyone is focusing on – something has to happen.

The problem is that Yahoo can buy something, but does it still have a viable business model? Like AOL, which some think Yahoo should acquire, it has a group of loyal users that come to the site daily. But others see it as a leftover from the early days of the Internet. That many Internet users don’t know why they should be interested in the brand is an obvious problem. Is Yahoo having a hard time trying to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up? Or has it already grown up and is now irrelevant?

The state of Indiana is about to launch its own media website. Called Just IN, the site will feed the rest of the news media government friendly stories and be run by former Indianapolis Star reporter Bill McCleery.

That the Republicans who run the state usually decry the spending of tax payer dollars for new government spending, the news outlet is a bit out of character. But then again, one person’s big government is another’s vital state function.

The move is actually a sign of just how safe the GOP feels it is in the state of Indiana, having no fear that the Democrats might take over both the governor’s office, and then the new news outlet.

“At times, Just IN will break news — publishing information ahead of any other news outlet. Strategies for determining how and when to give priority to such ‘exclusive’ coverage remain under discussion,” the Star reports that the Q&A sheet for the new state-run news agency spells out.

Update (Jan. 28): Looks like Indiana’s governor is doing some serious backtracking, saying “I frankly learned about the memo from press reports late Monday. Using terms like news service, like news outlet, it’s just not appropriate.”

Of course, what happens now to the former Indy Star reporter who was going to run the media website. Doubt that Gannett is hiring.

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