Legacy Newspapers + Foursquare = Location-Based News

Legacy newspapers have been struggling to come up with new business models for the last couple of years. Some, like Rupert Murdoch are fighting Google over search engines' access to their newspapers' content, while the New York Times is considering a metered system and a potential partnership with multimedia devices like Apple's new tablet (yet to be launched).

But none have embraced the latest technology of location-based social network services like the Metro, Canada's number one free daily newspaper. As a first for legacy newspapers, Metro just announced a partnership with Foursquare, one of the newest and fastest growing social networks on the digital scene.

According to their press release, “Metro will add their location-specific editorial content to the Foursquare service.”  There is also a special Metro Foursquare badge that users can unlock when they check-in at a single-copy location.

As a key component of the partnership, Metro will add their location-specific editorial content to the Foursquare service. People who choose to follow Metro on Foursquare will then receive alerts when they're close to one of those locations. For example, someone close to a restaurant that Metro has reviewed would receive a "tip" about that restaurant and the have ability to link through to the full Metro review on metronews.ca.

To promote this exciting new partnership, Metro is running a contest to win one of five iPhone 3GS units.  Over the next 4-weeks, Foursquare players who follow Metro and check-in near where they pick up Metro will unlock their badge and be auautomatically entered to win. The contest is being promoted through in-paper ads across all 7 editions of Metro, and in English Canada, through Metro’s recently launched reader loyalty program, Club Metro.

As an intrinsic feature of Foursquare, users that frequent certain Foursquare restaurants can become the mayor of that establishment once they tally the "most" visits. In turn, Metro plans to feature Mayor Deals every Friday in its publication. The deals are alternative ad buys for businesses looking to offer and promote mayor-only specials.

Putting a whole new spin on "local news," Metro has initiated a new business model that I am sure will be emulated by other legacy newspapers globally.  Leave it to Foursquare to find a way to make their check-ins a commodity. With restaurant reviews as a starter, can hard news be far behind? Perhaps in the very near future, Foursquare and newspapers will reward citizen reporters when they report car accidents, fires and/or street crimes? Finally, there is a viable platform to help make legacy newspapers relevant again.