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Maybe member newspapers should dissolve the AP, set-up news exchange instead 6/26/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in AP.

It seems like AP member newspapers are finally beginning to understand that the AP monster they created has turned on its masters in the Internet environment. They give the AP their money and content. In exchange, they lose original content they might have had, while everyone in the world has immediate access to the same AP stories they do.

But, who is controlling whom here? Just about every member of the AP’s Board is a newspaper exec. If the AP isn’t working for them anymore, they could liquefy this not-for-profit for its assets, distribute the proceeds among the members, and create one or more organizations that do make sense in the age of New Media.

How about a news exchange, where the papers buy and sell articles among each other? Some of the more entrepreneurial papers could redeploy staff they might otherwise lay-off, and turn them into profit centers who create news for other newspapers. Some might even create articles that vary by worldview – from left to right – providing the other papers more choices to match their readerships than the traditional, center-left establishment worldview of the AP. Most importantly, since use of such an exchange would require out-of-pocket expenditures, it would force newspapers to think twice before offering anything other than their own, original content. Their focus should no longer be on the big national and international stories anyway, which have become a commodity, ubiquitous on the Internet. As the Wall Street Journal points out, newspapers in Ohio and Montana are beginning to experiment with cutting the AP out. But perhaps all papers would do better to simply cut the AP off.


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