Linked In: Possible Partner for News Orgs?

One task that’s been bouncing around on my to-do list for more than a year, I’m ashamed to admit, is to make better use of the online professional networking service Linked In.

Today Business 2.0 profiled LinkedIn. This profile made me realize it’s high time for me to get my act together on that service. Maybe it’s also time for news organizations to consider possible LinkedIn synergies and opportunities.

OK, this is just a half-formed idea, but…

It strikes me that many news organizations have a strong, loyal base in their local business and professional communities. After all, there’s a reason why almost every paper has a section devoted to business news.

For most businesses, local contacts hold special value. They’re the people you can call in for in-person meetings. They’re the suppliers or partners who can respond in a pinch to get needed products or services at your door immediately. It’s easier to get a sense of their strengths and reliability.

LinkedIn is international in scope. Most news organizations have a local focus. Both thrive on supporting relationships and networks. There’s gotta be a lucrative opportunity combining the two, I’m guessing.

I’m not the only one who thinks so. In May 2005, consultant Peter Krasilovsky wrote: “For LinkedIn, a newspaper tie-in might be critical to boosting penetration outside of the tech markets where most of its usage is currently concentrated. There are several potential roles in which newspapers and LinkedIn could partner. These might include promotions, sales, content, listings and online/offline upsells.

“Newspapers, however, might resist partnering with LinkedIn because it ostensibly competes. That would be narrow-minded and self-defeating. The reality is that they actually have very different functions. While newspapers are read by active job seekers at senior levels, newspaper recruitment advertising is actually geared more towards hourly workers and low-to mid-level management. Most executive positions left newspapers years ago”

As I dive into LinkedIn in coming weeks, I’ll see if I can flesh this idea out more. In the meantime, if your business-beat reporters aren’t already on LinkedIn, they should be.

If you’re a LinkedIn user, what do you think? Is there a possible synergy with news organzations, or am I totally off base? Please comment below.

(Thanks to Staci Kramer of PaidContent for the tip about the Business 2.0 article.)

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