Staff at the Associated Press were yesterday told via a memo from AP CEO Tom Curley that the company was proposing to freeze the defined benefit pension plan at its current level, according to a copy of the memo posted by Jim Romenesko on Poynter.
In the note Curley adds that any future company investment in the pension would be “directed toward a defined contribution plan”.
Since I came to AP I have strived to do everything possible to keep your pension plan intact. Unfortunately, industry and economic pressures mean this is no longer possible. Nearly all media companies, as well as more than half of Fortune 100 companies, have already frozen their defined benefit plans.
This was not an easy decision. Your pension and your well-being are very important to me. As we work through these changes, we will strive to find ways to maximize your retirement benefits. Within the next two days, you will be receiving more information about our proposal and the impact it might have. Once the negotiation process is concluded, we will make sure you have more detailed information as quickly as we can.
The James Beard Journalism Awards – “the Oscars of the food world” – are to go platform-neutral. Categories for the awards will no longer be arranged according to platform but content.
“Why? Because we cracked a window … and noticed it was 2010 outside,” wrote Kat Kinsman, who is also on the committee that oversees the awards, for CNN’s Eatocracy section. “This is not a dance on the grave of print publication … Rather, this is an acknowledgment that online contributions should no longer be relegated to the kids’ table.”
Full story on sfnblog.com.
Associated Press also signalled a move toward multi-platform today, announcing that it would no longer byline its stories “Associated Press Writer”. According to an Editor & Publisher report, bylines will now feature the journalist’s name, followed simply by “Associated Press”.
Thomas Kent, the AP’s deputy managing editor and the man responsible for editorial standards, told E&P the new platform-neutral style is “consistent with the change in AP journalists. It reflects what’s been going on for a long time – people go out, they take pictures, they write stories, they do video, they work on different platforms.”
Full story on Editor & Publisher.
The Nieman Journalism Lab has posted an interesting report on the legality of different forms of news aggregation based on a white paper created by Kimberley Isbell of the Citizen Media Law Project.
While the paper is based on US copyright law, it is likely to be a useful point of reference for anyone dealing in online content.
In the paper Isbell offers context by discussing recent cases and the impact on the legal environment, including the licensing agreement between Google News and Associated Press announced at the end of last month. In a wider context, she adds, news aggregators can often argue a fair use policy.
(…) news aggregators could argue that the type of consumer that would only skim the headlines and ledes on the news aggregators’ website is not the type of consumer that is likely to visit individual news websites and read full articles, and thus would be unlikely to be a source of traffic for the newspapers’ websites if the news aggregators did not exist.
Her work concludes with some useful bullet points of best practice, reproduced in summary below:
- reproduce only necessary portions of the story, not in its entirety;
- try not to focus on a single source;
- prominently identify the source;
- link to the original source of the article;
- provide context or commentary where possible.
A group of online content syndicators including the Associated Press, Reuters, Tribune Company and CBS has released a proposed set of guidelines for content syndication, according to a report from MediaWeek.
The Internet Content Syndication Council began considering the guidelines at the beginning of July.
The guidelines are aimed at countering the effect that the group sees as a growing and dangerous trend on the web – the rise of shoddy, poorly-sourced and edited content, often produced solely with gaming search engines in mind.
The proposed guidelines will now be open to review by its membership and the wider online media industry.
Full post at this link…
The battle for a coveted front row seat in the White House press room is over, with Fox News claiming the chair.
Following the retirement of Helen Thomas in May, Associated Press moved to her centre-spot, freeing up its old space further along the front row.
National Public Radio, Bloomberg News and Fox all requested the special spot – but Fox was finally selected due to its “length of service and commitment to the White House television pool”, according to AFP.
NPR’s correspondent will now move up one row to Fox’s old second-row seat, next to Bloomberg News.
CNN has announced that it will no longer use content (stories, video and photographs) from the Associated Press (AP), “ending a business relationship that had been in place since the cable network’s inception”.
Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide, said in a memo to employees that the decision to discontinue the network’s use of the wire service was part of a strategy to “more fully leverage CNN’s global newsgathering investments.”
“We will no longer use AP materials or services,” Walton wrote. “The content we offer will be distinctive, compelling and, I am proud to say, our own.”
It is to use Reuters to supplement its breaking news coverage. While cutting the deal with AP will save CNN money, Walton claimed it was only “partly a business decision”.
Full announcement at this link…
“Links can add a lot of value to stories, but the journalism profession as a whole has been surprisingly slow to take them seriously. That’s my conclusion from several months of talking to organizations and reporters about their linking practices, and from counting the number and type of links from hundreds of stories,” writes Jonathan Stray.
Stray looks at the linking policies and strategies of BBC News, Reuters, Dow Jones, the Washington Post, the New York Times and Associated Press. There’s more to come from this research, but some initial conclusions suggest there’s a way to go when it comes to linking out:
Reading between the lines, it seems that most newsrooms have yet to make a strong commitment to linking. This would explain the mushiness of some of the answers I received, where news organizations “encourage” their reporters or offer “guidance” on linking.
Full post at this link…
Rich Matthews, a videojournalist with Associated Press, decided to report from the Gulf of Mexico’s oil-slicked waters. Not content with looking overboard, he went diving, intending first to go 60 feet but having to cut this back to 20 feet due to the lack of visibility.
I jump off the boat into the thickest, reddest patch of oil I’ve ever seen (…) I open my eyes and realise my mask is already smeared. I can’t see anything and we’re just five seconds into the dive.
Full story at this link…
The Associated Press (AP) has updated its Stylebook to include 42 new entries under a special social media section. The new edition of the style guide, which is widely used in the US and internationally, has changed its recommendation for “web site” to “website” and now includes terms such as “app”,” blogs”, “click-throughs”, “friend” and “unfriend”, “metadata”, “RSS”, “search engine optimisation”, “smart phone”, trending, widget and wiki. (Not all necessarily in keeping with the Journalism.co.uk house style…)
The new Stylebook also includes advice for journalists using social media for their work, in particular tips on how to use Twitter and Facebook effectively.
Full release at this link…
Online news aggregation service Publish2 announced yesterday that it intends to challenge the AP newswire with a new product that it claims will be more open and more efficient.
The start-up realises that the only way to disrupt the monster co-op is by offering a completely scalable substitute. Here’s basically what the company hopes the Publish2 News Exchange will do to the AP: ‘Craigslist it’.
As in, kill the AP’s main income stream by offering an open, efficient alternative.
And my educated guess is publishers are going to love this.
Full story at this link…