Yahoo bought Associated Content, known for churning out search-driven posts with an army of freelancers. The internet company is just the latest trying a hybrid cheap/pricey, highbrow/lowbrow approach to online journalism.

After all, Yahoo also recently hired a corps of no doubt better-paid veteran journalists. In that duality it followed in the footsteps of AOL, whose seasoned writers at sites like Daily Finance are joined by a large pool of cheaper freelancers working for the Seed division. Even sites without big, heavily automated freelance operations have been republishing free content originating on other sites; companies that do this range from Business Insider to the Huffington Post to, yes, Gawker Media.

By buying Associated Content, Yahoo added 380,000 contributors and 16 million unique monthly visitors. Now let's hope the company can integrate the acquisition better than it has with the other startups it bought.

[Photo of Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, via Yahoo]