by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
drm, editors, journalism, news

associated press

If The AP Is About Clear And Concise Reporting... Why Can't It Explain Its New Plan?

from the it-needs-an-editor dept

We've been discussing the Associated Press attempt to DRM the news using some technology it clearly doesn't understand. But the most infuriating part is that the AP simply hasn't been able to answer the myriad questions thrown at it about this silly plan -- and when pressed, suddenly announced it wasn't talking any more.

This seems especially ironic when you realize that the AP is supposedly in the business of explaining complex news events to the world. John Temple, a former newspaper editor, is pointing out, amusingly, that the AP really should have found an editor to go over its plan before it released it -- because that editor would have hopefully done a better job forcing the AP to explain itself:
So why do I say AP's planners needs an editor? Because editors make writing clear and understandable. And this "plan" is neither.

When reporters write news stories about the challenges an industry faces, it's important that they be clear -- and, of course, accurate -- about what the problems are and what steps are proposed to address them. The reporters' job is to help readers understand the problems and evaluate possible solutions. It's also important that reporters be clear about the potential industry or company conflicts that stand in the way of or complicate possible solutions.

The first paragraph of the AP document makes a bald assertion without the facts to back it up that a good editor would require of any reporter. It talks of news content being monetized without fair compensation and "rampant" unauthorized use of AP content on literally tens of thousands of Web sites. It says the problem is quickly spreading. The document goes on in this vein and seems to mix and muddle two concerns: unauthorized use -- the blatant stealing of entire stories or photographs -- and the use of headlines and snippets by search engines and others. It never makes clear how big the first problem is. Is there really that much revenue being stolen from the owners of content as a result of bloggers and others cutting and pasting AP stories? I don't know the answer from reading this document.
Of course, one might argue that the reason the document is so unclear is because the Associated Press itself doesn't understand it.

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  • icon
    Blatant Coward (profile), 21 Aug 2009 @ 3:01am

    Just the facts.

    O Noes! Scientologists and Pirates are stealing my newspaper!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2009 @ 4:03am

    Perhaps the AP want the details to be vague and uncertain - they can then get people to pay for "licenses" they don't need, and attemt to clamp down on unauthourised / negative peices (chilling effects)

    But this my just be my cynical mind...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Fungo Knubb, 21 Aug 2009 @ 5:04am

    Associated What?

    Among the crowd that I run around with, the "AP" stands for "Associated Phables", and for all the right reasons.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Beta, 21 Aug 2009 @ 6:21am

    Be fair. They're probably not shrouding their plan in silence and obscurity, it's more likely that the plan itself is vague and ill-defined. In that case the worst that you can say about them is that they're decent journalists who have neglected to blow the whistle on themselves for being incompetent engineers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ryan, 21 Aug 2009 @ 7:20am

    Office Space

    I started thinking of this OS quote as I read:

    "Well look, I already told you: I deal with the goddamn customers so the engineers don't have to. I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Aug 2009 @ 11:34am

    Mike, considering how badly you booted this story:

    I think you really need to let up on AP a bit. Even you are capable of misreading things and being intentionally vague and misleading.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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