A popular topic in text processing is ‘Named Entity Extraction’. This has obvious applications in search.
An equally important topic could be ‘Names Event Extraction’. Event extraction appears more difficult and Event Detection Technology has not made much progress — but this will be different. This will be mch more focused and top-down kind of approach that could also use contextual knowledge presented in ontologies or similar mechanisms. Also, this could be used across multiple media streams, if available. I feel that this could be an interesting research area.