Community News

Fred Wilson writes:

With the collapse of newspaper classifieds and their movement online, there is a real possibility that local community papers will not survive in their current incarnation. I wrote a bit about this in my whither newspapers post from last month.

So if the local newspaper folds, where will people go to get their information? I suspect its going to be something like 101 or Backfence. A low cost community driven news and information service. Think about it? Would you rather have some guy getting paid to write restaurant reviews or would you rather read the best bloggers in town’s reviews of them with user supplied ratings ala Zagat? Would you rather get the local paper’s view of the new high school cost overruns or hear everyone in town’s opinions and be able to debate them?

Some will say the Citysearch and other local web services are already doing this. I don’t think so. Citysearch and most of the local web is about listings. There isn’t any community and there isn’t any news. So they don’t offer a replacement experience for the local newspaper and that is what is going to be needed in many communities around the country.

This is not going to happen overnight. It requires a behavior change that is pretty fundamental. And it requires a revenue stream. For that we have Google local and Yahoo! local to hope for. They are almost certainly going to take their contextual ad networks local and if they don’t, others will. I think the revenue piece of this puzzle will solve itself fairly early in the development of this market.

This is what we should do with PIN-News.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.