Big Media Companies Buying Local News Startups... Newspapers Bitch About Competition

from the what's-going-on-here dept

As the discussions over newspaper business models have continued, I keep hearing from newspaper people that they "do local news better" and that local news will be what saves them. Yet, at the same time, we keep hearing about new local news startups that appear to do a much better job of it... and the best of those startups keep getting bought by big media companies. The latest is that MSNBC has purchased EveryBlock, a cool local news player that did a really nice job bringing together a variety of sources. While it may not have gotten as big as expected, and it's unclear whether MSNBC will end up killing it (the history of startups going to big media companies usually doesn't have a happy ending), it makes you wonder why no newspapers thought of buying it. The things that EveryBlock has done -- like linking local stories to feeds from Flickr, blog posts, and other online sources -- seems like exactly the sort of useful community building that a newspaper should be doing. Yet, I can't recall any actually doing that themselves... and now they let one of the startups enabling it get bought by someone else. In fact, I'd bet that EveryBlock is potentially one of these evil "aggregators" the newspapers keep complaining about as being "unfair." You can keep complaining, or you can do something. MSNBC appears to have done something, while the newspapers keep complaining.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 17th, 2009 @ 6:09pm


    "it makes you wonder why no newspapers thought of buying it"

    I think the conversation went something like this:

    Newspaper: Look at that shit! Let's buy it immediately!"

    Bank: Uh, with what money?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    davebarnes (profile), Aug 17th, 2009 @ 7:16pm

    The answer is at

    "The fact that the leading hyperlocal website was snatched up by a multimedia partnership operated by NBC and Microsoft shows a dismaying lack of imagination, foresight and, perhaps, economic resources on the part of the companies operating the nation’s struggling newspapers."

    In other words: stupid, chicken-shit idiots.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 7:42pm


    stupid, BROKE, chicken shit idiots

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 7:43pm


    ..or perhaps an amazing amount of foresight, as MSN and microslop drive these properties into the ground like they have done for almost everything else either has touched, leaving the existing newspapers as they only game in town once again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2009 @ 4:45am

    OK, EveryBlock creator Adrian Holovaty used to work for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. They did not know what genius they had. Talk about a missed opportunity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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