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Media's Retail Search Opportunity

News organizations have an opportunity to re-create their own CareerBuilder for retail advertising without mimicking Google, but by leveraging their own strengths.

Rich Skrenta over at Topix.Net makes a good point about what he calls the incremental web - the rapidly growing flow of time-sensitive content generated by increasingly productive news organizations, governments, and of course corporate press releases. This kind of information has defied organization by keywords. Ideas like flavored searches and folksonomies have been advanced as ways to harness this fire hose, but I think there is an alternative based on the media newsroom concept.

The newsroom is a wealth of information that can be the basis for value creation, distributed not only via mature mediums like HTML and email but also emerging formats like SMS, podcasting, and e-paper. Examples of valuable newsroom products include birth records, marriages, home sales, auto sales, business incorporations, and the like.

Currently, news organizations are using this information for story research. Today, as was in the past, too few journalists archive detailed information behind articles they write. But going forward, by re-examining how newspapers create and manage meta-information about those articles - such as depth,  sources used, related topics, and significance to other topics - such a systematic effort might not only be able to provide a feeder system for future news stories, but could also generate sales leads for retailers and valuable background information for bloggers.

For example, in writing a story about fall fashions, a journalist could quickly identify sources, new offerings from popular brands, and aggregate this data. This information could be of use to zoned publications or to local bloggers when looking for small, unique local businesses to highlight.


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