Tribune Quits AP for a Week, Should Really Quit Paper Itself

I’d love to see Tribune papers really get some good reporting here, not just from within but from experienced beat-bloggers, city-bloggers, and more comprehensive, microfunded reporting as done by the likes of spot.us.

Tribune papers without AP

Personally I think the best way to cut costs is to slowly let the printed version of the paper wither away, until all that ends up at the end of subscribers’ driveways is a stack of obituaries. THEN everyone will finally get the point and take to reading the paper online, on their kindle, their blackberry, Macintosh tablet or anything else that doesn’t turn your fingers black.

Syndicate far and wide, but don’t put all your marbles in one not-so-reliable product…. especially when it ain’t free!

photo by quinn.anya via flickr (CC)

The Chicago Tribune and other Tribune Co. newspapers plan to utilize as little content from the Associated Press as practical during the week of Nov. 8.

The goal, as the papers review costs and needs, is to see whether severing ties with the news cooperative next fall is a viable option, the Chicago-based media company confirmed Monday.

The trial is scheduled to be conducted almost 13 months after Tribune Co. gave the AP a required two-year warning that it might drop the news service, effective Oct. 15, 2010. Tribune Co. said at the time that it was keeping its options open while weighing what role, if any, the AP would play in its future.

Some content Tribune Co. papers get from the Associated Press, such as sports statistics, will still be published during the experiment. The company also said that if the AP is the only available source for a report considered vital, it will use that AP coverage. But the company wants to see to what kind of void the absence of AP stories and photos would have.

Besides the content provided by the staff of its own titles, Tribune Co. newspapers will draw from such news sources as Reuters, the Washington Post, New York Times, Agence France Presse, Cable News Network, Global Post, Bloomberg and McClatchy newspapers during its AP-less trial. Not all of those sources are normally available to Tribune Co. papers.

Some newspapers have determined that shared wire content that is available to readers from many other outlets is worth less to them than unique, proprietary content, especially online. Coupled with reductions in the space allocated for news in print, papers are weighing whether there’s the same need for Associated Press content as in the past.

“The Associated Press has been working with all members of the cooperative, including Tribune Co., to ensure that the AP news report retains its value to member newspapers and their readers,” AP spokesman Paul Colford said in a statement.

The AP Board of Directors in April announced a new $35 million in rate reductions for 2010 for its member newspapers on top of $30 million in rate reductions for 2009 announced a year earlier. AP expected that the total assessment decreases for papers would average a little less than 20 percent, although it would vary widely for members depending on their services levels.

Tribune Co. TV stations will not participate in the experiment, which falls during the November ratings period. Tribune Co. newspaper Web sites also will not be affected, the company said.

Posted at 07:36:22 PM

in Chicago, CNN, Newspapers, Tribune Co., Washington Post Co.

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