I’m sure that when we look back in twenty years, we’ll see that some of our declining media were actually sitting on Web 2.0 gold mines that they failed to realise or tried to realise in ways that they completely bolloxed up.
Here are some great ideas proposed for the New York Times. Obviously one can’t be sure of the extent to which they could be turned to money making, but my thinking, and I think Google’s thinking is this:
The creation of free public goods like Google itself, or any of many subsidiary efforts like Google maps can generate massive, absolutely massive social utility. If you can capture a tiny fraction of that, you’re laughing. Go ahead, and see if you can make someone’s day – it might make yours.
This post from the online journalism review outlines Web 2.0 ideas for the NYT in the context of suggesting that this is one way to fight off Rupert M’s aspirations. The NYT in Murdoch’s hands would be a very sad state of affairs.
Here are some of the ideas.
Poll participants on what they consider the top 25 challenges globally and nationally. Nytimes.com would announce and benchmark the choices to shape its day-to-day coverage. (The print Times would be free to decide how it wants to incorporate the choices in its coverage.) Use crowdsourcing to help put together important but hard-to-assemble stories like a checklist of the most structurally deficient bridges in the U.S., or the biggest holes in domestic security. The site could create Google mash-ups to produce some stunning interactive maps that would compare the readiness of cities, especially ports and international entry points. Produce more inside-outside content, like what happened when foreign-affairs columnist Nick Kristof held his Win a Trip With Nick Kristof contest. Create or bring on board culturally adventurous blogs like Freakonomics and Club Troppo. Open the door to editorial decision-making with a live video where participants can lob comments at board members… and maybe influence their positions on issues. Let participants register on the site with their biographies and other personal information, a la MySpace and Facebook, and give them opportunities, with widgets, etc., to extend the nytimes.com menu well beyond its presently constricted state. The 12.5 million adult users who now come to nytimes.com include platinum-plus demographics, but also 3 million people who didn’t graduate from college, which gives the site some healthy diversity. Imagine the classifieds that those 12.5 million folks could post! How about looking for a man [woman] who wants to help wipe out poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa? Develop a network of local-local sub-sites across the U.S. With its millions of users spread across America, nytimes.com could jump-start hyperlocal coverage by helping citizen contributors produce content that goes beyond vacation photos and cheerleading-camp announcements. The Times deep editorial resources could be deployed, when needed, to mentor citizens retirees, stay-at-home moms and dads, and community activists who would be thrilled to be part of nytimes.com.
It’s a truly exciting time to be alive.