Galligan's TV-to-Web move helps produce new breed


CORRECTED 10:14 a.m. PT March 5

NEW YORK -- Several years ago, a producer moving from TV to the Internet would have been unthinkable. Besides the obvious downgrades in visibility and salary, the broadband capacity to easily view video online just wasn't pervasive enough.

But it's gotten to the point where CNBC veteran Maria Bartiromo hardly blinked when her longtime producer, Diane Galligan, told her last year that she was leaving the business network for Yahoo Finance.

"She was so surprised at how easy I took it," Bartiromo says. "She probably thought I was going to beg her to stay."

Not that losing Galligan was easy for Bartiromo -- she said it was "heartbreaking" to see her dear friend leave the channel -- but with Yahoo Finance's place at or near the top of all online money sites and the growing ubiquity of online video.

"This was an opportunity that I couldn't not take," says Galligan, who as executive producer oversees all editorial content on Yahoo Finance, including the recently launched Tech Ticker blog and video clip site. "Finance was at the stage where it was ready to take off, and I wanted to be a part of that."

Tech Ticker, which focuses on tech stocks, showcases Galligan's production expertise put to work in the new-media environment. Although the control room at the Nasdaq headquarters in Times Square -- on a recent morning populated by just Galligan, senior producer Heesun Wee and two engineers -- is definitely less frenetic than CNBC's nerve center, it still requires an intensity and sharp attention to detail.

Galligan, though, makes it look easy as she quickly and professionally leads her crew through four two-minute segments, hosted by stock analyst-turned-blogger Henry Blodget and finance journalist Aaron Task, in an early-morning session that concludes before most people have started their morning commutes. Galligan is so at home that she calls the environment "serene."

The episode, though, belies the still-punishing transition from traditional media to the Web.

"You've hopped off this cruise ship of television," says Neeraj Khemlani, Yahoo's programming head and a former TV producer, "and now you're drinking from the fire hose of the Internet while on a roller coaster. The business and technology is evolving as you're trying to create a product."

With Tech Ticker, Galligan and her team are confident that they've found a product that speaks to their platform. The video spots are unscripted and more irreverent than what Galligan produced at CNBC. But with contributions from such well-known Wall Street names as Blodgett and Task along with such Silicon Valley insiders as reporter Sarah Lacy and money manager Andy Kessler, the site also brings serious insight from both coasts.

It also has the benefit -- or detriment -- of being right in the middle of the story. Tech Ticker launched in early February, just as Microsoft announced its takeover bid for Yahoo.

"At first, I could not believe that this was happening," she says. "But it actually has been great in many ways. It's a huge story, and we're covering it as a huge story. The internal support has been excellent. They say, 'Just do what you do well.' "

For Galligan, that means leading the Tech Ticker team while continuing to innovate the editorial product of Yahoo Finance. Her colleagues, both past and present, swear by her abilities to accomplish these tasks.

"She is calm in the forest fire," Khemlani says. "There's no better person to run that team than Diane Galligan."