Can Newspapers Also Be Tech Incubators?

8 Jan

From GigaOM, Jan. 5, 2012:

We’ve written before about the need for newspapers to be “digital first” and to think like startups as they try to adapt to the evolution of the media industry. Can a traditional newspaper take an even bigger step and actually help give birth to new technologies or services by acting like a startup incubator? At least two of them are planning to give it a try: the Philadelphia News Network just launched an incubator, and Digital First Media recently launched a venture-capital arm and says it plans to invest in tech startups. While both of these efforts could easily fail, at least these two media entities aren’t just sitting back and relying on paywalls to save them.

>snip<

I admit I was skeptical when I heard about Digital First’s new venture-capital entity, in part because it sounded like the media company was going to try and compete with the hundreds of VC firms and angels who are already trying (and mostly failing) to pick the next Foursquare or Facebook. But Paton said the emphasis of the new venture would be on partnering with companies that could help the company take advantage of digital media in new ways, which is something more traditional media outlets should be thinking about.

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