In the past month, I've read two things that have given me a different perspective on News organizations. First there was the history of Django and now today, I just read about the NYTimes "hack-day." Both of these make me hopeful for a future of growth in the publishing and News media.
Both cases show that there are great opportunities to apply what companies like the NY Times does well. They gather and process huge amounts of information and produce web content on a dizzying scale. Why not turn that infrastructure into a money making business. They could provide access to the enormous repositories through API's, generate analysis of the data and roll out their internal tools for outside access. I'd also guess, they could charge for commercial use along the way.
These businesses are forced to stress test things in ways that tiny start-ups can not imagine. They need to support massive loads and large numbers of data requests and they do it pretty well. Just imagine if the NY Times provided access to data with meaningful meta data through a simple API. I can think of several clever uses that they could charge for. I hope they learn to monetize their business in the Twitter age where News publishers become less relevant for breaking news. It would be a shame to lose those data repositories and technologies. I'm actually rooting for the NY Times.