The Incredible Potential of Location-Based News

ReadWriteWeb’s Marshall Kirkpatrick thinks the potential for location-based news is huge. He points to the deal announced this week by Canadian newspaper chain Metro, which is partnering with location-based social network Foursquare to deliver location-specific editorial content from the paper’s website to users’ phones when they check-in near a spot Metro has written about. Great idea, but the potential is much greater….

The prospect of the local newspaper getting on board with a location-based social network is very exciting. It appears that Metro’s initial foray is going to focus on restaurant reviews. In and of itself that’s not so exciting. It’s hard to imagine such a service competing effectively with Yelp or Google’s excellent new Near Me Now.

Put a newspaper’s best and most unique strength, its journalists, into a geo-located, mobile app context and then you’re really talking about something. Does the local paper want to tell mobile users that there was a murder last night, down the street from where they just checked-in? The list of unpleasant things that a newspaper is ostensibly responsible for reporting on is long – isn’t it reasonable to expect newspapers to report on those through new media as well? Or will struggling papers just focus on commercially pleasant topics, like restaurant reviews?