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Groupon and McClatchy: Newspaper chain jumps into online group coupons

First, newspapers blamed Craigslist for stealing classifieds. Then job listings were taken over by different online players. Now, another piece is being subsumed by Internet startups: couponing.

Groupon, the growing social site for daily deal coupon hunters, has partnered with the McClatchy newspaper/media company to offer "groupons" to the company's 28 markets.

It's my view that newspaper companies should've started their own Groupon-like site years ago -- or directly incorporated such features into their main websites. But anyway....

The point now? The McClatchy newspaper chain -- which owns the Miami Herald and the Sacramento Bee -- has access to local markets, and Groupon, a hot startup that has many emerging competitors, wants to target local advertisers with its coupons.

It's a partnership that makes sense for both newspapers and new media players. (As an aside, a good friend who owns a restaurant in Baltimore just cut a deal to be featured on Groupon in the Baltimore area.)

I was alerted to this news story by Dave Troy via Twitter, who reminded me that I had had an idea for a local "daily deal" (or deals) for newspapers a while ago. I had shared some ideas with Dave over a couple beers. To me, roping in local advertisers -- small mom and pop shops and restaurants -- to allow them to give daily and weekly deals, coupons and specials through a newspaper Website just makes absolute sense.

Newspapers, not the Web and Google, still have a real connection in local neighborhoods and businesses, so why not make use of that connection to promote business on the Web?

If you make it fun and interesting, and make sure the deals are actually worth it, you -- the newspaper company -- can be providing a real consumer service to your readers. So, in my view, I think you'll see Groupon really start to find success in hitting up local news sites and blogs across the U.S.

I'm getting off my soapbox now -- what do YOU think? 

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