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Dropping the AP

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by 1000questions, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. 1000questions

    1000questions New Member

    Our paper has plans to dropped the Associated Press. Anybody know if there are any alternatives out there? We rely on the AP, exclusively, for state and national stuff. Yes, like most small papers (we're 10,000 five days a week), our bread-and-butter is preps and our front is almost always 100 percent local. Still, we do have an agate page and we carry whatever we can (as space permits) on the two Big Ten schools in our state along with all the Detroit-related stuff.
  2. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Well-Known Member

    Do you run prep agate...I've set that up via excel files and it eats pretty much a full page.
  3. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Boy, oh, boy. We learned a lot in our 36K+ shop in our "Week Without AP" in mid-2010. Main thing, how damned difficult it is to get national sports agate without the AP.

    There is, I'll say, no serious alternative to AP sports agate for print products. There are other vendors who'd be happy to hook you up with agate for web applications, but they get very quiet when you ask about porting their stuff into print.
  4. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    Went with AP Limited for about six months summer before last. Hated it, hated it, hated it. We still had comprehensive coverage of state sports, but otherwise, forget it! No NASCAR or golf agate or NBA playoff coverage, unless a state team was involved or it happened in California. Couldn't even get Pacific Coast League standings, even though there's a team 45 miles away, since AP considered that "national," yet we did get California League standings (there's a team 30 miles away), since that was considered state. The folks up front freed up enough money to get us the full wire back just before the start of the last NFL season, and I am soooo thankful.
  5. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Best I can recommend, having never been in this awful position: Dump the scorecard, move preps agate into slots with stories and run lots and lots of photos. Do whatever you can to make it less noticeable to readers that you no longer have any national coverage.

    If Big State U wins the big rivalry game, do you normally have a story on that, or is your paper so hyper-local that it won't be missed?
  6. SportsGuyBCK

    SportsGuyBCK Active Member

    God help you when school's out ... :)
  7. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    My experience is whenever a news service was dropped, things would be quiet for a few days or a couple of weeks, then a reader would complain that we were no longer running something that they were used to seeing, leading to this conversation:

    Management: Why are we no longer running the Bumfuck Conference standings?

    Us: Because we got it with Bumblefuck News Service, which you guys dropped.

    Management: Oh.
  8. Illino

    Illino Member

    This happened to us at my college paper a couple years back. One thing we started was a leaderboard. On that, we put the football, volleyball, soccer, etc. statistical leaders (for season totals and game highs) every day. I've continued that with preps at my gig, and I use a different headshot for each sport as often as I can. I only do that for the one big school, but it still takes up a 2-columnX10-inch hole with five sports on it.

    This way, I take space and get news faces in there on a regular basis, so it kills two with one stone.
  9. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    I have a question.
    If you work at a paper without AP and you're looking for standings, agate, etc., couldn't you go online to league sites, copy and paste them in and format them? Yes, it's extra work, but it gets you the same content.
  10. Johnny Chase

    Johnny Chase Member

    I started working my current gig about six months ago, and we had already dropped AP at that time. Now, we go with a service called McLatchy Tribune Information Services. So, we can get stories from numerous big time papers off that site.

    Being a really small daily, we don't rely on wire (front is always 100 percent local). It's tough not being able to run standings/agate. I guess that's the one thing I miss about AP.
  11. apeman33

    apeman33 Well-Known Member

    I stopped running agate at a level higher than the Big 12 about three years ago, but it was because the tight deadline forced upon us didn't allow me (one-man staff) enough time to properly format them. For some reason, the version we got had the tabs all wrong and I couldn't figure out why, so I was having to manually correct them.

    In three years, one complaint. People get that stuff in other places. Besides, three high school leagues, a juco conference, the area Division II league and the Big 12 take up half a page.
  12. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Well-Known Member

    Here's another Scoreboard alternative...I title it "College Corner" in our paper.
    I just spend a half-hour trolling college websites getting brief recaps on what local grads did recently. I started it up about 10 years ago, and it's become one of our most popular mainstays...I hear about it almost every time if it skips an issue :)

    Here's a link to what it looks like...but assuming you have a pack of high schools in your coverage area, it should be able to fill a good size Scoreboard hole.

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