4.8.09

What's Eating The Associated Press?

As we all know, it is common practice for bloggers to quote and link to some articles or news stories published by those big boys in the business of news purveying.

Take for example, the Associated Press (AP). This international news agency has been throwing big tantrums for several months now if you follow the noise coming from its direction regarding copyright of their news material.

And recently, the AP had asked its employees to not only control what they say, like in Facebook, but what their social media friends say, too. Obviously, this got the goat of the News Media Guild's administrator, Kevin Keane, and he responded to this AP's Facebook profile policy:
      “It is making some people cringe. It is not appropriate for a company that heralds free speech.”

The AP's bizarre action begs the question: When does a social media policy go too far?  Mashable, the social media guide site, in its article, thinks the AP seems to have crossed the line with this policy imposed on its staff.

      The Mashable article opines:
     "And while both policies in question were made with the intention of protecting the AP brand, we're pretty sure that telling employees that they have to control the content of others is going too far. What others post on your social profiles should not be grounds for punishment. You can control what you post, but not what others post. Asking for that is just too much."

The other axe to grind, depending on which side of the fence you're sitting, is the intention of AP to charge anyone who uses anything that it publishes a minimum of $12.50. More of this here at the Marketing Pilgrim site.

How are newspapers faring?


As more and more people move online to get their news, the newspaper industry still seems unsure how to face the spectre of declining readership and revenue. A number of U.S. newspapers have gone bankrupt and it will not be a surprise to see more heading south.

The people in the industry are talking. They are wondering whether their online platforms should charge for content in order to generate revenue? Should there be paid online subscriptions? And a host of other ideas that have yet to jell.

We can guess a mutual feeling is being felt by syndicated news agencies like Associated Press, because it means less revenue as one loses more newspaper clients for its news services. The other big boys such as Reuters and AFP have yet to show similar tendency as AP to rant about copyright issues and fees.

The challenges faced by traditional media are for real and it's expedient for them to seek ways to ensure their survival as dissemination and consumption of information take on a new dimension in a wired world.

The explosion of social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter  and, in the case of Twitter, its 140-character messaging alerts in real time have also won over news consumers tuning into current happenings around the world.

Where all this is headed is hard to say, but for newspapers and journalists, it's time they wake up from their slumber and tackle the changes that are taking place right under their noses. Or else, they will ride into the sunset. - Markk

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