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Does AP have to be better?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Cadet, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    We may have discussed this in the depths of the JTO threads, but here's my question:

    With so many papers slashing staff and relying on wire coverage, does The Associated Press bear the burden of having to be better? Must they be as selective in hiring as a major metro? Must they compete for stud writers and editors with news outlets? Must they increase not only the quality of the product but also the quantity?

    Sure, what we hear from the brass these days is "Local! Local!" but what often ends up happening is a late hole gets plugged with wire copy, or a paper decides not to cover a team on the road and use wire, or a departing writer (in any section - sports, news, features) is not replaced and wire fills that void.

    I've got no connections to AP, so I don't know: Is this a consideration? Is this talked about by AP brass? Have newspaper editors called upon the AP to produce more or better content?
  2. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    Newspapers are asking AP to be better at the same time they are asking AP to cut its prices.


    Which I guess shouldn't surprise me.
  3. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    I'm told the local AP office just had its stringer budget cut significantly.
  4. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Keep in mind that AP is a cooperative of newspaper members and its board reflects the newspaper industry. My (somewhat biased) personal experience is that the AP already competes at a very high level for talent. Very few newspapers pay as well, so good people tend to gravitate to AP.

    If newspapers insist on operating with skeleton crews it would make sense for the cooperative to raise rates and hire even more good staffers at the local bureaus, which are typically understaffed considering the report they're expected to generate each day.

    If newspapers demand cuts in rates at the same time they're cutting their own staffs, it would seem very short-sighted -- a recipe for a downward spiral. But that's just me. Maybe all the AP needs is a memo to all staffers, exhorting them to think outside the box and do more with less.
  5. PHINJ

    PHINJ Active Member

    More newspapers should look at eliminating AP altogether. It's a big expense and adds zero "unique" content.
  6. PHINJ

    PHINJ Active Member

    It can be done, and I think it will be.
  7. PHINJ

    PHINJ Active Member

    We're getting rid of AP, and we won't miss it at all. I've been at a paper that relied almost entirely on wire copy, and we got rid of AP there and still survived (in fact, circulation went up during that period).
  8. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    I've never met a reader who has complained about papers being too thin. I have heard the opposite.

    Then again, one of my sources told me he noticed how much less wire my pub has run since I started there.

    The only way I could see papers eliminating wire is if they have enough staff or student writers picking up where wire copy leaves off. My paper can mostly do so because we're within a few minutes of a major university with a big time J program. Even so, I still occasionally have to run a wire story. Although sometimes, I run stories that are compelling enough where I want to.

    Then again, I'm at a local weekly. If it were a daily, it'd be a vastly different story.
  9. PHINJ

    PHINJ Active Member

    I stand by mine, too. AP is a big expense and mostly serves as filler (readers recognize that, too).
  10. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    However, in a time when newspapers cut their own local payroll, AP becomes a necessity.
  11. PHINJ

    PHINJ Active Member

    I think we should reexamine that belief and turn it on its head. If AP is a necessity than we are doing something wrong.

    If you can save your local columnist of 32 years, two sports writers covering local colleges and three desk people, I say that's worth a hell of a lot more to your readers than wire copy that they can read anywhere else.
  12. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    How much does AP cost for a paper with a circ. of 100K? It amazes me that the suburban paper in my neck of the woods pays for AP when it neglects so many local stories that could be filled by hiring four or five more reporters fresh out of school.
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