Is The AP Even Relevant Any More?

from the do-you-need-it? dept

The original purpose of the Associated Press was to pool together resources of various newspapers in order to be able to cover and share reporting on different events around the world. Otherwise, it simply wasn’t practical for every local newspaper to have a Washington DC bureau or a London bureau or a Moscow bureau or whatever other location needed news reporting. And then, the idea was that by collectively teaming up, each of the local newspapers could reprint the works from others (and from the AP’s own reporters) and have a complete newspaper on their own. But does that even make any sense in an internet era? The NewsFuturist blog notes that the internet has basically done away with the two key reasons that explain the AP’s very existence, which probably explains why they’re trying out questionable ideas designed to hold back the power of the internet, rather than embracing it. Could there be a place for a modern Associated Press? Absolutely. But its core purpose needs to be entirely different from what it’s been for most of the AP’s history. Each newspaper doesn’t need to copy the same report from the White House briefing room. Everyone can just link to different reports (including more than just one to give multiple perspectives). The whole reason for the AP’s very charter makes little sense these days, and it’s time for the AP to come to terms with that, and adapt… or go away.

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Comments on “Is The AP Even Relevant Any More?”

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Big Al says:

Re: Re:

No, I think it’s more in the realm of resource-sharing – you can collect news in your area and share it with me, while I share my local area news with you, but it’s not an exclusive deal on either side. That way I’m competing with other locals just as you are, so you’d better give me a reason to use your service over your competitors’, just as I’m giving you a good reason to use mine. Hey, we just got a competitive marketplace again!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Except that BBC, CNN, and others are reliant on services such as AP for much of their news (including initial reports of breaking news). So CNN and the like would have to massively increase their staffing to maintain the same level of coverage. Doesn’t seem like the AP is irrelevant to me.

BAlbrecht (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Actually, I do not think either of those organizations use AP. And this post is specifically about the ineptitude of the Associated Press, not wire services in general.
And I disagree that either of these organizations have to “massively increase” anything. That’s kinda the point the newsfuturist was making in the first place.

ChrisB (profile) says:

Re: Evolution

> It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the
> most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to
> change. (Charles Darwin)

It is interesting you bring up evolution. Most people think evolution is individual animals “changing” to suit their environments. But “evolution” and “adaption” refer to species, or groups of animals. Evolution works by *killing off* the weak animals, not having them “adapt” to their environment (which is very difficult and rare). Those animals that are left just happened to be more suited to the environment, and were *born* that way.

For example, say a bear was born with more fur than his peers and struggled for years until the global temperature dropped. That previous disadvantage became an advantage, and he (and his children) would have more offspring than his (less furry) peers.

So … it is much more likely that the AP will just die off (or the leadership will “die off”) and others will take their place, rather than the AP “adapting”.

Anonymous Coward says:

What is really funny is that most people don’t understand how widely used the AP services are, and what that really entails. Heck, Mike, you pointed out the other day that the BBC news service uses AP.

It’s easy to dismiss AP as a dinosaur of the newspaper age, but since that isn’t their only use, it would be a rush to damn a concept that in the end is needed in the future.

BAlbrecht (profile) says:

Not there yet.

Sometimes we tend to forget that the average reader of this blog is an individual who likely uses the internet for a great deal of their news and information gathering. I would contend however that at least in the US, we have yet to become the majority (though this will likely change in the next decade or so).

I live in a fairly rural and isolated area where there are still quite a substantial portion of the populace without a broadband connection. For those individuals, the national and international coverage that AP provides for the local paper is hardly irrelevant.

Having said that, I think our local daily (which I personally find to be a piece of garbage) would be better served by hiring a staff member or two to research the internet (and other sources) and find stories relevant to our community. A local reporter could then provide some contextualization to the big stories, while the 5 sentence digest stories could be be gleaned from just about anywhere. The AP in its current role is indeed unnecessary in such a model. See ya!

Steffan (user link) says:

Re: Not there yet.

I agree, although a lot of people get their news from the internet it’s about trust, and most people over 35 don’t trust the internet, they trust what they see on the news and in the newspaper regardless of quality or objectivity.

The question is how to we improve the trust of the internet to people who are still not used to it?

Overcast (profile) says:

Re: Re: Not there yet.

they trust what they see on the news and in the newspaper regardless of quality or objectivity.

I’m over 35 and oh no, no, no – I do not trust the ‘news’ at all – it’s owned by the same big corporate interests and elites that are in the back pocket of the Government – or wait, is that the government in the back pocket of the elites? 🙂

I’d trust half the blogs out there before Faux News, CNN, AP, etc. I know of those that own most of them and certainly wouldn’t trust those entities.

Either way, I prefer new media and more objective sources that aren’t so obsessed with dirty laundry and cash flow.

Funny when you take money out of the picture how much more ‘sincere’ things can be.

But I’m not so sure there’s anything we could really do to improve people’s trust of the internet – but I must admit, the lax reporting and agendas the ‘mainstream’ (for lack of a better word) news has will do that job with their spin, political agendas, catering to big business and government..

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