Let’s look more at “Media 2.0”
A quick recap, in Media 2.0, newspapers will need to focus more on news, less on paper. And, to success they must own the local market on news and information.
When I say “local,” that goes far beyond the happenings of government, people and crimes in my community. “Local” means being the local resource of information in the area … and being so indispensable to my readers that other sources become irrelevant.
As a local news reader, I’ll expect a home page that welcomes me by name, has news that I want, and suggestions that fit my personality. Yes, it’ll be an Amazon.com for information.
If I want to find out what my son’s little league team did, I can find it on my home page. If I need to know what happened at the local zoning board, it’ll be there. If my neighbor’s home was burglarized, it’ll be there.
But, if I want to order a pizza, I should be able to call up pizza places within a reasonable radius of my house. I should be able to find names, addresses, phone numbers. I should be able to call up a menu … with current prices … to review. If the business is online, I should be able to place my order in a few clicks. If it’s robust, I should be able to review the food and service, and read other reviews that were posted as well.
In order words, the news org with the deepest and most robust local database will own the market.
This database could be the potential gold mine for monetization. For example, If I owned a pizza shop, I should be able to get a listing and a link to my website for nothing. If I want to link a menu to my listing, that’ll cost some. If I want to partner up with the news org to handle online ordering, that’ll cost a bit. If I want to place an online ad that will come up when someone seeks a query from the ZIP codes I serve, that’ll cost some. Add an online coupon? A bit more. In time, as I get lots of favorable feedback from customers on my online site, I could pay a bit more for some sort of premium placement, maybe placing my business at the top of any relevant queries, maybe in bolder or larger type.
It worked for the yellow pages all these years. It’s time the local news orgs took a cue from them and build upon what they probably already have in their possession.
If the news org’s brand is well established in the marketplace as a trusted source for news, it’s logical that that trust will transfer over to other data as well.
Sure, the “chicken dinner” news is one that is looked at with disdain by “traditional” journalists, but knowing where to get a good pizza in town is just as important to our readers as what town leaders are doing with tax money. We should recognize that and capitalize in our abilities to disseminate that information in a way that readers can easily obtain that.
And if we can make it personal … which we are establishing on the web … it’ll reinforce that relationship between reader and news org.