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In case you didn't notice, Yahoo! is now a full participant in the journalism profession. The portal has a scoop.

Earlier this week, Yahoo! reporters Charles Robinson and Jason Coles broke a story alleging that star footballer Reggie Bush and his family received financial perks while the running-back was still in school at USC. That's a no-no in the "amateur" world of college athletics where the performers must parade around in costumes labeled by Nike or Adidas for free, while the schools earn hundreds of millions of dollars. The Yahoo! story took eight months to research, and the reporters have some very specific evidence to back up their allegations.

As a result of Yahoo!'s scoop, publications such as the AP, the Houston Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune have pointed the portal's story in their own coverage of the incident.

This is the first really big news story Yahoo! has broken since it started hiring reporters a couple of years ago.

In its baseball section, Yahoo! has tried out retired players such as Jack McDowell and Ryne Sandberg. Their reports were so awful that the jocks only lasted a year on the job. More recently, Yahoo! hired a proper journalist in Jeff Passan to pen baseball columns, although most of his stories as just as disastrous as those from the ex-atheletes. We're not talking about major hires here. Yahoo! has been trying to pick up reporters that might make something out of themselves and done so with little luck.

On the harder news side, Yahoo! has been running stories from Kevin Sites. This long-haired, sultry guy sure seems like a real journalist and places himself in the "Hot Zone," according to Yahoo!, which means Sites goes to awful spots and reports on how awful or uplifting they are.

And now, after going at it for awhile, Yahoo! has a bona fide scoop.

This is a weird spot for a portal to be in. Yahoo! doesn't have many of the trappings usually associated with a news organization. A search for "Yahoo reporter" on Yahoo! turns up a link for Yahoo! News and then links for the movie The Passenger, an AP story and then some more movie pages. We certainly don't know much about Yahoo!'s media traditions or policies or than it tries to hire celebrities to pen stories whenever possible.

Without question, however, Yahoo! is now officially some form of new media, and, we argue, a much more interesting form of new media than blogs on the other garbage the internet has churned out in the last couple of years. Yahoo! is trying to have it all by writing a story about an athlete, linking to other stories about the athlete, pointing to where you can buy the athlete's shoes, helping you find the athlete's contact information and giving you show times for movies about the athlete.

And have a look at how professional the Reggie Bush scoop package is. That's worthy of CNET.

Welcome to the New World, friends. Yahoo! is a real publisher. Or, at least it looks like one. ®

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