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Why can't Yahoo control its image like Angelina Jolie?

Much of Yahoo's troubles stem from an inability to project the right image to the outside world.

In these troubled days for journalism, it was, for some, uplifting to read that Angelina Jolie is able to control her image to a pre-Botox level of startle.

The New York Times reported this week that Jolie allegedly offers exclusive pictures of her latest offspring in exchange for guaranteed positive coverage in venerable publications such as People magazine.

This surely leads one to thinking about Yahoo.

Here's a company that seems to enjoy more barbs than British teeth. Allegations of indecision, myopia, and even collusion with the Chinese government are tossed like pungent confetti at the company on a far too frequent basis.

And yet it's not as if Yahoo is the worst company in the world. It's not as if it doesn't make money. It's not as if its brand doesn't have some residual positive associations. And it's not as if it took a major role in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow or the entirely seminal Gone in Sixty Seconds.

Image or reality?

Yet while Jolie appears to have contrived an image for herself that has now allowed her to participate in half-decent works of entertainment such as Changeling and The Good Shepherd, Yahoo struggles for respect.

It's relatively easy to point to strategies Yahoo might have adopted or management changes it might have made, but it is also easy to point to Jolie's interesting declaration at the 2000 Academy Awards that: "I'm so in love with my brother right now."

One might argue that entertainment journalists are less rigorous than those in the business sphere. One might also argue that some other companies--does Apple come to mind, anyone?--manage to control their images in a far more productive way than Yahoo.

Perhaps Apple executives study the way Jolie's expert publicist steers her public persona.

Might it therefore be an idea for Yahoo to get some guidance from the extraordinary publicist who appears to be solely and uniquely responsible for the Jolie Image Enterprise?

She's called Angelina Jolie.