Global readers for local papers

I was filling out the registration form for the Nashville City Paper and the Dayton Tribune this morning. And I realized that newspapers don’t yet understand an opportunity that Google News gives them.
Like many newspapers, they have added forms that require readers to register. The forms asks a question about newspaper readership habits, with choices ranging from “subscribe” to “pick up the paper at the newsstand” to “rarely buy the paper.” None of the choices fit the profile of a reader who picks up interesting stories from around the world on Google News.
I wonder how how noticeable the “out-of-town” visitor segment is growing. It could present opportunities for different types of ads (national) or different types of subscriptions (a bundle to a very large basket of papers). I’m curious about how much new circulation Google is throwing at newspapers, how it can be an economic opportunity for the content creators (it should be, when readers click through).
And I wonder how it feeds into the economic equation adding up to death of newspapers based on stats that show younger people getting news online.

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