Thursday, May 25, 2006

Newspapers and local content

In an AJR article on the future of newspapers, "Adapt or Die", McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt is quoted as saying:
"It's no longer sufficient just to have that core daily newspaper; instead, we need to leverage off of it this whole portfolio of products, including, and most importantly, the leading local Internet site."

"In each market we're the leading local media company, the leading local Internet company," capable of delivering news continuously.
Newspapers face a challenge because their lucrative control of local distribution is fading. But they still have a major competitive advantage producing valuable local content.

It seems to me that newspapers should own local. When I want information about Microsoft, Amazon, or other Seattle area companies, the best source should always be the Seattle PI. When I want information about local restaurants, I should think the obvious place to go is the Seattle PI. When I want information about concerts, events, parks, politics, traffic, entertainment, news, anything local, the best place to go should be the Seattle PI.

Even more important, local newspapers should own local advertising. When I want to run ads for small Seattle businesses, I should look to the Seattle PI. I do not know all the small local businesses. I do not have connections into them. But the Seattle PI does. Similarly, when local businesses want to advertise to local customers, the obvious choice should be the advertising network provided by the Seattle PI.

Sites like Citysearch should look hollow and pathetic next to the content provided by your newspaper. The Wall Street Journal should seek out the Seattle PI for access to their in-depth reporting on Microsoft. Google Local and Yahoo Local should be begging the Seattle PI for access to their pool of local advertisers.

Newspapers should be the broker for local content. Newspapers should be the master of news and advertising content for their communities. Newspapers should be the experts of local.

See also my previous posts, "The problem for newspapers", "Matching content to audiences", and "The best of the old and the new".

See also my previous post, "Local search lacking local ads".

[AJR article via]

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