Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Daily News Cancellation of AP Core Services: A Whole Lot of Posturing, But Nothing More

Which is Not To Say Member Gripes Aren't Legit, But Pulling Plug Will Never Be The Answer

Editor & Publisher reported yesterday how The Daily News in New York is a year into its two-year notification to the Associated Press that it would cancel its core services next year.
The official explanation: the DN is peeved over the two-year termination policy and it's pulling up stakes in protest.
AP regional vice president Linda Stowell told E&P the co-op isn't exactly quaking in its boots. Cancellation notices do crop up, but they get resolved and members almost never leave. For the simple reason that they can't.
I mean, they could, but then how do you fill your paper? Sure, you could head over to Reuters and AFP, which is fine if you need to keep up with the latest out of Burkina Faso or Turkmenistan.
Yes, if something big happens in a large population center, correspondents from The Washington Post, McClatchy or Tribune could possibly fill the gap.
But there's no one else to enter the breach consistently when news happens anywhere else, and no one to get it out faster -- all the more important as readers migrate to the Web and stay there.
As media cut back or eliminate bureaus, stop sending reporters on the road to cover teams and get rid of arts critics, they blithely assume the AP will be there to bail them out. And it almost always is.
The AP knows it, so does The Daily News. Which is why the termination notice doesn't herald a paradigm shift for newspapers, nor does it portend a new business model. The wire is actually the one indispensable component in a newsroom. With it, you know you can always fill the paper with something.
Sure, some editors are peeved about AP's new rate structure, which will bolster breaking news to core members, while putting some other services on an a la carte menu.
But all the bitching and moaning will be just that. Editors know they can't leave when there's an 800-ton gorilla sitting on top of their news hole.

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