I wrote a blog post back in June asking if old media houses might one day sell themselves to Silicon Valley giants. Anyway, two months later I get an answer – sort of.

Jeff Bezos buying the Washington Post seems to make perfect sense to me although I don’t know very much about this transaction beyond the surface reporting we’ve seen so far.

There’s possibly a lot more that can be done on this front, many more old media companies that can join a more cashed up operation like Facebook or Google (platform neutrality be damned). This of course will change the nature of journalism. A more secure revenue base will lift the standard of reporting above the base stenographic and press release-driven “churnalism” of the past 15-years while integration with a technological platform like Amazon will connect journalists with the rich data ecosystems many of these new platforms boast. Data in and of itself, as anyone at Bloomberg will tell you, is news.

A while back, I also wondered what the future of smaller newspapers (those with a metropolitan or regional focus rather than a national or global one) was. Warren Buffett’s acquisition of a series of small town newspapers, again, makes a lot of sense to me.

What I find interesting is that almost a decade after I left my first newspaper job in Temora, Australia, (a sheep-and-wheat town of about 7,000 five hours west of Sydney) the bi-weekly Temora Independent still has no website of which to speak. This might not sound particularly surprising if anyone knows what sleepy Temora is like, but what it tells me is that these tiny news outlets are still providing news and information that no one else is, so much so they haven’t needed to invest in innovation to remain relevant. This means something and it means something to more than just the people of Temora, which is presumably why Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway sees value in local American newspapers (in some cases very local).

Why do I say this? I don’t have any strong economic argument or market research to back this up, but my gut tells me local reporting will soon become highly prized well beyond the small markets they’ve traditionally served.  These are towns that are usually too small to matter to major media outlets but they are rich in narratives. While I always aspired to work for a global news outlet for professional reasons, to be honest, the most interesting stories I ever came across came out of Temora. That might not say much for me as a journalist but for what it’s worth, there was David Schlunke, an artist who built a three-storey house in the middle of the thicket out of bottles, mud and an assortment of junk. There was Rosie Blachut who showed me her single-engine bi-plane which she too built herself. There was Gil Venz, the local Baptist pastor, who was staying with Christian missionary Graham Staines and his two young sons in India the night the three were burnt to death by an angry mob. David Lowy, the son of Westfield shopping mall mogul Frank Lowy, had set up an aviation museum in Temora full of working vintage fighter planes. Anecdotally, there are things I’ve done and things I’ve seen in these small towns that I don’t think I’ll ever do or see again in my life.

There is a depth of storytelling that the local news players have at their finger tips and as is the case with most of my examples above, you’d be hard-pressed to find much on the internet about any of these stories.

Somewhere in the bundles of yarn small town reporters gather lie bits of string that fit into much larger stories. An entrepreneur that can break down silos and integrate the resources of disparate and locally invested small-town papers could be onto something big. The key to unlocking this synergy is technological investment. I think both Buffett and Bezos are the start of a new wave of old media transformations.