Worth a revisit:
Long tail demands custom work. Not so far-fetched to get an algorithm which would search news stories and extract the "nut" paragraphs along with any salient details separately. Also possible to simply organize by relevance to current location and interests.
As well, "news" is mostly infotainment now, spicing otherwise factual story with irrelevant "spicy" details and controversy in order to keep such things interesting. In short, you don't get news from news media any more, just drama and histrionics. So people are tuning out.
My RSS feeds (via Google deskbar) now gives me the current news in all categories. I no longer need newpapers, TV or magazines to give me that news. Other news, such as weather, comes direct from AccuWeather to my Firefox browser - refreshed every 15 minutes. Commentary I get via podcast feeds with Relay Radio. So I am pretty divorced from the MSM directly (Google news samples key stories and rotates these, though I can filter them through Daypop - which also can come through the Google Deskbar).
For the technology enabled, the above reference is already happening. Due to the poor quality and depressing news on TV, my mother (not tech-enabled) is cutting down her TV watching to a few hours a day - where she formerly had the machine on in the background most of the day.
How the MSM could redeem itself would be through quality news, which means delivering news to the Long Tail on demand - TV news would be via DVR subscriptions. Newspapers would be custom printed and shipped via postal mail or delivery systems. Look to magazines to take this up before newspapers do. Figure their Sunday editions might utilize this, as the ad revenue is larger. Means they would have to work out how web-press master plates could be revised on the fly, as only magazines (digitally-mopied) can be done currently. Currently, bulk rate distribution is possible through the postoffice, even though you are sending to specific addresses.
So, the technology is present for this currently. Only thing needed is some investment in high-quality writing and some specific ad revenue for those particular locals. Mags which serve rural communities would have more Wal-Mart ads, while Neiman-Marcus would hit the metro areas. Barnes and Noble would advertise in college towns, while Dish TV would hit all markets. Means the economic payment plan is already in place, just needing fine tuning.
PCWorld.com - Will Google Kill News Media?:
Sample the scenario: On Aug. 4, 2011, The New York Times will lose a case against Google in the Supreme Court, in which the newspaper claims that the search engine's fact-stripping robots that rearrange news stories gathered by its search bots according to its users' tastes violate copyright regulations.
The decision marks a huge win for Google, which merged with Amazon.com three years prior to form Googlezon. Combining Google's search technology and Amazon's social recommendation engine, the two companies created a comprehensive service that provides total customization of content, news and advertising for its users.
After the ruling, The New York Times ceases publishing online in a feeble protest, instead becoming a print-only newsletter for the elderly and the elite, according to the movie."