Monday, May 19, 2008

AP: Frankenstein?

Steve Boriss, who blogs at The Future of News, has an interesting Pajamas Media column:
Before there was an Internet, AP member papers could freely share their stories amongst themselves without worrying that their readers could access them from other sources. Now that the Internet allows readers to find AP stories from many
different sites, local papers are left with little content that appears to be exclusive, and thus little reason for their readers to subscribe.
Worse still, in a plot reminiscent of Dr. Frankenstein, the AP, which was created by
its member papers, has turned on its masters in at least three ways. First, while its members’ businesses are shrinking, the AP has used their fees to mushroom into a huge, full-service news outlet with more than 4,000 employees working in more than 240 bureaus worldwide. Second, last September after AP members made the foolish complaint that Google News was not paying them for words in the brief synopses linking to their articles, the AP made a deal with Google News to feature the AP’s version of the story, and ignore similar stories at the members’ own sites — a move that, no doubt, has cost members a good deal of online traffic.

A former co-worker of mine used to call it "The Great Atlantic & Pacific News Company." It's a reliable service on most basic news stuff, but they're bad to put a PC spin on anything that might be called culturally sensitive, and some of their political coverage is biased.

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