I recently came across this story in the unfortunately named Buttermilk & Molasses blog about the relationship (or lack thereof) between local newspapers and the blogging community. Newspapers are in a tough spot. While their content is still valued, the value of their portability as a news aggregating device has been almost totally lost and is being replaced by handheld phones and organizers (I’m an iPhone fan). Unlike newspapers, these devices allow users to access much more news and information, not to mention links, multimedia content, etc. than any newspaper ever could. I received an offer from the Wall Street Journal last week for a year of internet access AND daily delivery of the newspaper all for $99. A great deal for sure, but I was thinking to myself: Why would I want the newspaper?
Given the harsh realities of the newspaper business, it would seem to make sense for daily papers to bolster their resources by adding feeds from bloggers to their content. Traditionalists may be shocked at the suggestion, giving excuses such as: the accuracy of these posts cannot be confirmed, these people don’t have the right training, how will we manage this animal once we let it out of the cage, etc.
But the truth is that newspapers need bloggers in order to help them become relevant in the “net-media age” and bloggers (being the shy bunch we are) would love the exposure. So why not work together?
UPDATE: Apparently media buyers think it’s a great idea for newspapers to be more aggressive online by partnering with or buying niche web sites. My bet is that newspapers will follow the money.