The future is in databases of local information (part 3,672)

The American Press institute issued its long-awaited report on the future of the newspaper industry this week, and guess what? The key recommendation is something I’ve been touting for a long time: that the path to downstream profitability for all local media is in databases of local knowledge and information. Says USA Today:

Newspapers grappling with declining circulation and profit margins can turn themselves around if they quickly develop publications and affiliated websites packed with local information…

“The land rush to meet local information needs has barely begun,” says Newspaper Next: The Transformation Project…

For example, the report says that newspapers might assemble databases about parks, medical facilities and restaurants, information about schools, consumer-supplied ratings for restaurants, mechanics and contractors, as well as chat groups for parents and shoppers.

Remember that Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it easily accessible. That ought to be the core goal of any Media 2.0 business, because that’s where the eyeballs and the money will be. We can either be contributors to the knowledge/information base by supplying content (the expensive end of the value chain), be the aggregator of the local knowledge/information base, or we can do both. Let’s see, hmm. Which path should we take?

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