Missing the boat: Reporting on cool sites and companies instead of partnering with them to deliver new and exciting services

News organizations continue to miss the boat by not partnering with the ever-growing array of information technology providers to deliver new capabilities and the information people are looking for.

The great irony is that the news media wind up writing articles about how great these services are but fail to partner with them to provide their service as part of their brand’s offerings.

The partnerships would enable the local news organizations to better deliver on their core missions and increase revenue, while providing a great sales channel for these services.

Connecting Residents & Police

The June 3rd Wall Street Journal article “New Programs Put Crime Stats on the Map” highlighted how new services are not just delivering crime stats to audiences but truly connecting the police and residents. Residents are able to sign up for alerts and search for incidents, services that have already been offered by a number of local news sites.

The new services take it one step further and are providing an instant two-way communication platform between police and residents. The police are able to push out information and even request assistance from local residents about crimes. And residents can submit information and ask questions online.

What these services often lack is a big audience as building software is much easier than gaining adoption. In fact, CrimeReports.com stated they only had 70,000 users, a fraction of what they could get if they partnered with local media sites that already have a large audience. An audience who is looking for this type of information and not finding it.

Making Stimulus Spending Transparent

The May 28 NPR story about Onvia’s site Recovery.org  and what a great way it is to track how the stimulus money is being spent. The story identifies yet another great opportunity for the news media to join forces with an information/ technology company to provide a great service to a much broader audience.

Instead, NPR and the rest of the media just report on the site, instead of partnering with it to deliver the information as part of their mission of informing the public.

This could be a great partnership as the local media could write stories, develop charts, create videos, etc. based on the information on the site in their paper and TV editions that publicize the online tools thereby helping drive traffic to their sites. Onvia could generate new revenue and grow its audience by becoming part of the local and national media sites.

I could go on with a whole host of other examples, but instead just read a few articles about cool new services and you’ll find a host of potential partners.

If traditional media is ever going to successfully transition to an online model, they will need to aggressively move from developing in house solutions and purchasing software from traditional service providers to aggressively courting and integrating new technology and information services.

As someone who has seen his family’s life savings go down like the Titanic in a failed startup, I can attest that it’s generally easier to build a product than it is to build an audience – so most companies will jump at the chance to partner.

Contact me at kevinjmireles@yahoo.com if you’re interested in learning more.

Kevin Mireles has an MBA from the school of hard knocks and over 15 years of publishing and technology experience. He currently works full time in an unrelated industry but has never gotten over his first love.

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