A typical objection to my suggestion that media companies can profit from selling the data they collect in the process of reporting the news is that this implies that the sources of this data should be paid for it.
Which leads to an important answer: Data without a structure has no value. Data within a useful structure has whatever value it can bring in a free market.
In other words, the value is contained in the structure, not the data that populate the structure.
So when we create structures that enable the profitable exchange of data, we don't charge people for using the structures. We might sell them the tools to make that task more efficient, but if they create their own tools and put their own data into a structure that is useful, we've not lost a penny on the exchange. In fact, we ought to be investigating ways to facilitate the hookup between buyer and seller.
If media companies can figure out ways to capture the data set known as "all information valuable to insurance companies and home improvement warehouses and hardware stores and security systems based on all fires within ZIP Code 29403," and they can do that job in a profitable way, then the resulting data set will have value to buyer and seller. If someone else can do the job equally well for less, then the market will favor their product instead.
I think media companies have an advantage here, because they already have a business that involves collecting some of this information. For media companies, it's a matter of adding a layer of information gathering and quality control to an existing workflow. For competitors, it would be a matter of starting from scratch.
But other companies and entities will certainly make money selling their data by putting it into a structure that is compatible with what we produce via SCMS. A clothing retailer that agrees to make its sales figures available to a company that compiles sales figures can certainly expect an exchange of value.
The trick here will be to create data exchanges that efficiently value the information that passes from buyer to seller -- while creating laws and regulations that honor the provenance and privacy of the information that is being exchanged.