Good idea to review the Art of War with the commons in mind. The commons may be the most misunderstood of Google's instructions. Google's desire is to find relevant authority.
In a recent video Matt Cutts used the New York Times as an example of an organization with quality content. NYT is a content engine built around specific rules and practices to insure content quality.
Interesting to use a newspaper since newspapers are under such pressure. I agree with Cutts that the NYT creates quality content. I don't see the NYT as a leader in other relevant Internet practices (social, mobile).
Cutts is saying NYT starts with an advantage because they are so dedicated to content quality. I grant the point, but wonder if the NYT is a tad solipsistic (self referential) for this time.
Does the New York Times stop the news world as it used to? Not even by a little bit because there are so many other high quality and niched information offerings.
The commons is a tactic every newspaper could benefit from. The commons views whatever we are creating as a combination of US and THEM. By taking an active community approach the quality and quantity of content goes up fast and in affordable ways.
The commons, that area where we've both invested, can now turn around and repay the debt by driving links back to its creators. In the case of the New York Times this would be finding the 1% of contributors who are "Times Worthy" and including them more fully in the paper's content strategies and tactics.
Think of Amazon's Top 1,000 Book Reviewers - a list people fight to achieve - and you see how the Times could be a leader in User Generated Content curation. "Could be" but unlikely TO BE because newspapers don't value, use, reward or curate the rich vein of UGC they could easily mine.
To reward the "Cult of the Amateur" would be below most newspapers (goes the thinking). I used to read the New York Times Sunday edition like a religion. Not so much anymore because I have friends who fill the need for amazing content I care about now.
Every newspaper COULD have become the source of legitimacy for the 1% of content creators who could work on staff at the times or the observer or at any paper. Increasingly these "reporters" leave institutions like the times because they seek freedom to publish and know their following has power.
Is there a role for newspapers still? Of course, but it is a very different role than they are used to or, at least so far, seem to want.