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Dow Jones dumps AP

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by PHINJ, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. PHINJ

    PHINJ Active Member

    Relying on AP is going to mean a death sentence for newspapers. A few people are starting to figure it out.

    From Reuters:

    I think John Dvorak was linked in another thread, but this quote sums it up fairly well:

  2. STLIrish

    STLIrish Active Member

    So, is this just the DJ newswires? How much AP general/political news does Dow Jones Newswires distribute? And wouldn't most of Dow Jones' clients also be AP clients?

    Dvorak's right, though. Most of us can't win on "commodity" news. We need to be unique.
  3. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    This really isn't anything especially new. Suburban dailies have been doing this dance for decades. Early in my career I worked on one that would flipflop every year or two from all-local A-1s to more of a mix of local-national-world. Nothing stemmed the paper's downward spiral, but I could argue that maybe readers realized we were nuts and they couldn't count on what the paper would give them a month later.

    My hunch is that readers do not want an incomplete product, they would rather park once at the mall than have to feed a half-dozen meters downtown. They don't need every store at the mall every time they go there, but the fact that it's all there makes the decision of where to shop easier.

    A few other points on wire usage:

    1.) I think we are knee-jerking a bit when we blindly accept that when we run AP, we're running what everybody else runs. AP runs more stuff every day than any of us could possibly publish, even given the wider parameters of the Internet, because it would be an unwieldy product for the readers. Is it possible that every news organization is selecting the same 20-50 AP stories out of the hundreds offered each day? And if so, wouldn't that be more an indication of uncreative news judgment than some generic status of AP copy in general?

    2.) I've worked on papers that had numerous supplemental news services, yet the first instinct of some desk people was to grab the first story that moved (AP), even on something like an NFL playoff game, rather than wait for a New York Times or Washington Post story. So the problem was not a sameness of available copy, but of editors making the easiest choice rather than the best choice.

    3.) Most newspapers, even large ones, treat AP copy as a nearly finished product instead of rewriting it or merging it with other wire copy to craft the best story. In the 1990s I had a tryout at one of the nation's largest papers and the person in charge of hiring copy editors told me that they wanted to "preserve the writer's voice" even on AP copy. I had all I could do to not say, "Lady, you are fucking NUTS. AP doesn't set the standards for us, we set the standards for us. On a large desk, we ought to treat AP copy like notes to be rewritten." Roundups are generic because most people just take the first two graphs of a 14-inch gamer instead of rewriting it to get the best stuff in. Obviously on a very small paper, you do what's expedient, but it doesn't have to be that way everywhere.

    I don't think the problem is running non-local news, the problem is processing non-local news like we're on autopilot, with minimal thought, creativity and effort.
  4. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Of course, when you've got to put out an 8-page section with two deskers, and one part-timer for agate/phone calls, like we did tonight, you barely have time to think.

    And too many sections are being put out that way these days.
  5. ditto
  6. PHINJ

    PHINJ Active Member

    There was a story on Poynter a few months ago that said the Cleveland Plain Dealer was the first major metro paper to run all local fronts. This shocked the hell out of me but it seems to indicate that this is indeed something new.
  7. Does this mean that AFP and Reuters is different from AP and will provide more local content?
  8. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    AFP and Reuters have a different accent.
  9. Cousin Jeffrey

    Cousin Jeffrey Active Member

    AFP sucks. It's Dow Jones' loss. AP's product is much better than AFP and Reuters. As an AP foreign editor once remarked to me, "It's like amateur hour over there."
  10. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member


    You don't frighten us, Reuters pig-dogs! Go and boil your bottom, sons of a silly person! I blow my nose at you, so-called financial wire service, you and all your silly English j-rrrrrrrnalists! Thpppppt! Thppt! Thppt!

    /Sorry, as a Monty Python fan and one who has a good friend working at AFP, I couldn't resist.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  11. Never apologize for a Python jack, Bob.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  12. Bamadog

    Bamadog Well-Known Member

    Or you do it with one full-time desker, sometimes help from the designer and a part-time agate guy. When you're under the gun, sometimes the AP is your only option, especially on stuff on deadline.
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