Newspapers have the best local content for local restaurants, movie reviews, local business, school sports, and should be the first search result for any local search. They are not. Greg Linden says Newspapers should own local I think they don't because they don't think globally. They don't think about how to make their valuable content friendly to search engines.
Rich Skrenta says "95% of SEO is getting the basics right: title, meta, h1 h2, link anchor text, sane url structure, and so forth. That stuff still matters and it's amazing how so many businesses with tons of content don't do it." Basically, Rich is saying that newspapers don't follow commonly known best practices for publishing web content and making them easily search-able.
Newspapers are dying slowly while craigslist and Monster.com attract most of the lucrative classified advertising. The San Jose Mercury News has certainly felt the impact of readers moving online, losing $100 million in classified ad revenue. Remember this quote from my March 2006 post;
At its peak in 2000, The Mercury News had a Sunday circulation of 326,839 subscribers, according to the newspaper. Last September, the company counted 278,470 Sunday subscribers, a drop of about 15 percent. Revenue from the company's help-wanted ads fell to $18 million a year from more than $118 million, according to the paper. The newsroom was whittled to 280 people from 404, a 30 percent decline.
Newspapers are losing tons of classified ad revenues on the print side, and are not picking up enough online advertising revenues to offset it because their content often isn't found.
Local search is a huge opportunity. The local newspapers are in a great position to own it...but they don't. The YellowPages could own it online, but they don't. The big search engines could own it too...but they don't. It is one of the last great online markets up for grabs.