The Wall Street Journal wrote this week that the 162-year-old Associated Press (AP) is ‘beginning to fracture’ as the newspaper business in the US breaks up.
The AP last week announced a new set of ‘wire’ tools and cash back options to sweeten newspaper clients that are becoming disenchanted with the fees it demands and its increasing focus providing news and information packages for web publishing and non-traditional customers like Google and Yahoo.
However, its members have already started to seek alternatives to the AP for syndicating their stories and picking up relevant content for their publications from other news providers.
Journalism.co.uk detailed in April how eight of the largest newspapers in the US state of Ohio had begun bypassing the AP and forged an alliance to share their top stories.
The Columbus Dispatch, The Toledo Blade, the Cincinnati Enquirer, The Akron Beacon Journal, The Plain Dealer are amongst newspapers making up the membership of the Ohio News Organization (with the unfortunate acronym, OHNO).
Rather than relying to the Associated Press to decide at the end of each news day whether or not to distribute their stories, the papers now post content to private website – accessible only to those eight newsrooms – from which partner organisations will be able to select pieces to use and publish while the stories are still hot.
But it seems that OHNO is not alone in taking this kind of stance against the AP. According to the WSJ piece, Five Montana newspapers owned by the newspaper concern Lee Enterprises have also begun sharing content. In addition, editors in Texas, Pennsylvania and Indiana have inquired about how the Ohio cooperative works.