Newspapers should be buying their online competitors. But too often when newspaper's open their wallets it's to invest in trendy gadget sites (ones that don't produce content but offer a nifty tool for reorganizing it). Instead, buy content that just works online. Here are my top 20 recommendations. Feel free to suggest your own in the comments.
This site has a large online following and is actually breaking news. One of the most mentioned among politicos on television and in blogs.
Perhaps the most important editor on the Web right now is Matt Drudge. Lots of people want to know what he thinks they should be reading. Sounds like a valuable newspaper to me.
Although MTV recently bought this network of college Web sites, I still wish it had been newspapers who realized the way toward an automatic audience of young readers is through their college sites.
This brilliant idea of covering national niche markets with snarky blogs has borne a host of sites that can't' be beat within their coverage areas. Gawker for media gossip, Wonkette for politics, Eater for restaurants, and Gizmodo for gadgets.
This and other niche weather sites are great buys. Not flashy, but filled with information.
A long-standing place for nerds who want news. Now owned by SourceForge.
A perhaps more reputable place for nerds who want news.
UPDATE: CBS buysCNET
Oddball news is popular, like it or not. And although there's no original content on this site, it's still an important editor to many readers.
Internet Movie Database
Newspapers have covered the entertainment industry for ages. This is a less narrative approach to that coverage. Now owned by Amazon.
Britney Spears stories get a lot of page views. TMZ excels at celeb gossip, often promoting its site via the cable news shows.
Hollywood Media Corp.
The company includes a series of events listings services newspapers would find valuable, plus the ever-important Hollywood.com site with its entertainment coverage and movie times.
Hasn't everyone visited this very cool site about outer space sometime in their life?
Devoted to science news, there's real content here.
The Smoking Gun
Perhaps past its heyday, but a good brand and idea that has some life and news value. Now owned by CourtTV.
The Motley Fool
Personal investing advice and news from a well known Web brand.
There are other military based Web sites, but I list this one because it's online only and oddly owned by Monster. Why does Monster own this site? It's a news site for the armed forces, not a job board.
Sudoku is friggin' popular. And so are the crosswords. So how about newspapers try some modern time-wasters.
College sports fans are crazy, page-view making addicts. Rivals grows and grows. Huge potential if it can keep ahead of even smaller niche sites being created.
UPDATE: Rivals.com bought by Yahoo.