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A week without the AP ...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by HejiraHenry, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    ... starts on Tuesday in our little (35K) shop. Should be real interesting.
  2. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    Doing this on purpose to see if you can make it or switching a server?
  3. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    An experiment in alternatives. I'd hesitate to say What It All Means, although we have suggested we might not re-up with the AP at the end of the current contract.

    Mainly, it is an exercise that grew out of some blue-sky thinking from a couple of years ago. On balance, it may be more of a challenge for our news side than for sports. Access to agate, of course, is the one thing that really makes me uneasy.
  4. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    So are you running a two-page sports section then?
  5. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Heh. No, we have our four staff writers (2 college, 2 high school/GA) in hand this week and all will contribute.

    I imagine we will try to keep our average section size through this week at 4 pages, but Sunday will probably be 8, as it usually is.
  6. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    If all you're doing is having locally generated copy, yeah, lots of luck.

    Sounds like some management idiot who has no clue what you guys do thought this up to save money, but of course, didn't think of the consequences the first time someone calls in sick, or on vacation, or on the days when there literally is nothing going on (like Christmas).
  7. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    No, that seems to miss the point in at least two respects:

    1, We have access to other wire services besides the AP; MCT, in particular, but also trial runs with a couple of others.

    2, Trying to see if there are ways to realize savings on a six-figure budget line item – the annual AP assessment – seems quite sensible to all of us as newsroom managers. To conclude, on the basis of actual experience as opposed to just talking out of my ass, that it's either practical or not practical to change the way we approach "wire copy," will be pretty damned helpful for me.

    We already understand, for instance, that's it's not a question between spending $X on the AP service or spending $0. More likely, there's no real cost savings to be realized at all, or it's within the margin of error, once you take new labor into the equation. It might even be $X-plus to re-create those services in an alternative form. All of this will be good to know, after several years of "what if" musings.
  8. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    I suspect ya'll won't have much of a problem with copy.

    My worry would be photos and agate, and that would be newspaper wide.
    If you have secondary wire photos, you won't have as many if any to choose from for national event coverage.

    Locally, and forgive me if I make broad assumptions since I have some small familiarity with your shop, your paper already covers the area (sports and news) like the dew covers Dixie, or whatever the old AJC tagline used to be.

    What you'll miss is state AP coverage, but in the summer time that means you won't be getting jack and squat since the AP goes on summer siesta and only moves pickups from other papers right now anyway.

    I'd guess that the monetary savings might be significant because, as I recall, secondary wires weren't terribly expensive, especially when compared to what the AP was charging, and if you can work out some copy and photo sharing with papers for your college coverage, you'd be in good shape.
  9. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    I think the Yankees are willing to call in their game and box score.
  10. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    I would be less concerned about major stories than I would be about roundups and agate and photos.

    We can get coverage of major events (World Cup, British Open, etc.) from our New York Times service, albeit not as rapidly.
  11. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    My concern with pulling back coverage to only local -- and I'm assuming that's what you do with no wire -- is that if you ignore the big statewide and national wire stories, you force readers to go get that information somewhere else. Then maybe they decide they don't need what you do provide. If you lop off that six-figure expense but lose readers and, by extension, ad revenue, have you really gained all that much? I guess the numbers will tell.
  12. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    OK, gotcha. From what I had gathered from the previous posts, I thought all you had was an AP wire, and some suit was thinking, "Just go all local, all the time." There are some papers that have been going that way.
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