Local news is not an island

On a recent edition of his Critical Path podcast, (right around the 52-minute mark) Horace Dediu notes an interesting fact hiding in plain sight in the most recent Apple keynote at WWDC: Apple is entering into more partnerships for content and solutions than ever before. Partnerships such as with MLB or NBA for scores and stats for Siri and Yelp for restaurant reviews in Apple’s new mapping system. His point is that Apple is moving ever-so-perceptibly away from the old approach of build-it or buy-it for most of their offerings to a new openness to work with the best that’s out there, perhaps toward their larger goal of beating Google at the most lucrative slice of the search game, faceted search for high-interest — and high-spend by advertiser — activities.

So, if we’re musing on this while gazing at our WWAD wrist-bands, what’s the message here?

Jeff Jarvis gave us the clue years ago: Do what you do best and link to the rest or, in this case, partner for the rest.

Local news organizations have a default mental switch marked Do It All, but does it really make sense to recreate a database of restaurants, ratings and reviews and hope that people will help us populate it, or would it be better to partner with Yelp and/or Foodspotting and incorporate that information into a tool that’s tuned to the specific needs of people in our communities? I think, increasingly, the answer may be yes.