These amicable negotiations stand in contrast to similar talks between the AP and Google, which have stalled. Google stopped posting new AP content in December, although it's not clear which party initiated this brinksmanship. Erik Sherman at BNet reads these developments as proof that "media companies are starting to follow through on their complaints and be willing to walk away, which is, after all, the foundation of any good negotiation strategy."
The AP and other big media companies have been fuming over search engines' exploitation, in their words, of news content. Google counters that it drives traffic to news sites, which can easily choose to make their content inaccessible to search engines. News Corp's Rupert Murdoch, who threatened to take his content off Google and partner exclusively with Microsoft's Bing in November, this week blocked the UK aggregator NewsNow from indexing newspapers like the Sun and the Times of London.
The AP and Yahoo aren't commenting on their negotiations--other than the fairly obvious leak to the Journal--but if they do strike a deal it could shift the balance of power between content creators and aggregators.