So, the Review-Journal has given a cancellation notice to the Associated Press. The contract has such a long cancellation notice requirement that some newspapers perpetually have AP on notice so they can keep negotiations for terms and price open.
The paper gave AP at least one cancellation notice when I was editor.
The AP is a cooperative in which members aggregate content worldwide, since no paper can have reporters in every city where news is breaking.
The story notes that now AP sells R-J content to local broadcasters and other newspapers, which give credit to AP. Apparently the paper is asking AP to “out” local media, which is a common practice, especially for photos.
The current editor was quoted as saying, “The content we produce is very valuable, and it’s very expensive to produce.” No kidding, I used to do the annual budget. “Right now, anyone has access to it. From now on, anybody who competes for our readers has to generate their own content.”
Hey, Martha, get me rewrite. Since the paper gives away every syllable of its content free online, all anyone needs to do is cut and paste any given story and then do a little judicious editing to alter the syntax and order. Perhaps make a phone call to confirm the accuracy or get a different quote. Besides, there is the fair use doctrine, which I just employed to lift a tiny portion of a copyright story in order to pen this commentary.
It took the current publisher and former advertising director to explain the real reason. “The AP sells our content to Google and Yahoo. They compete against us in our market. They run ads for their digital app,” he said. “That’s not a healthy relationship. As more papers drop the AP, the writing’s on the wall.”
And if the ink in the budget is not red yet, there are certainly fewer digits left of the decimal point at the bottom line.
Then main trouble with dropping AP in a sports betting town is: Where are you going to get the sports box scores?
Reminds me of the time decades ago when the afternoon Fort Worth Press would steal the sports box scores from the morning Star-Telegram. The editors at the morning paper finally figured out which newspaper rack the competition was using to buy the paper and copy the scores. So they printed a couple dozen replated papers with fake names for players.
They had a good laugh when those names appeared that afternoon and made the afternoon paper a laughing stock for some time. Now they’d just cut and paste.
Finding an alternative to AP for the fundamental news coverage will be difficult if not impossible.
Someone needs to find a new business model for newspapers … or give up, because this looks like floundering desperation.