Monday, August 17, 2009

Why no newspaper company bought Everyblock

Alan Mutter raises a good question on his Reflections of a Newsosaur blog.

"How could MSNBC.com have scooped the newspaper industry by buying Everyblock.com?"

The answer is simple, I think. The newspaper industry is running scared. Many companies are bankrupt. Others aren't, but probably should be. Others are seeing their revenues plummet and don't have the stomach for the big risk. Many company leaders are fighting defensive battles over ownership of their content. And newspaper companies generally don't see themselves as national players. They're a collection of local entities. MSNBC.com knows what it is: a global player.

I'm delighted to see Everyblock get the opportunity to expand dramatically. Who cares who owns it, if it's getting the support to spread?

The only issue I'm concerned about is that Everyblock was funded to be open source software by the Knight Foundation and I think it's critical for other local publishers to be able to use its tools to serve their communities.

45 comments:

  1. This doesn't change Everyblock's open-sourcing (per Adrian's blog-- can't seem to paste a URL here).

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. Here's Adrian's blog: http://www.holovaty.com/writing/everyblock-acquisition

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  4. Newspapers -- in some ways correctly -- have seen their salvation as local, local, local. So the idea of partnering for stuff in their own backyard is a bit off-putting. At the same time, they aren't really finding the operating cash to invest in hyper-local efforts.
    So, they leave themselves as sitting ducks.
    Maybe we'll get to it, ummmm, next year.

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  5. I completely agree. This doesn't even seem like something the newspaper industry would need to "own." They can utilize it, but like you said - why does it matter who it belongs to? It's sad that "scooping the newspaper industry" is even something to be considered now, when sites like Everyblock.com share our mission in the first place.

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