After a decade of watching newspapers and rival wire services shrink, The Associated Press, the 161-year-old news cooperative, is refitting itself to handle the 24-hour news cycle it helped create, reported the New York Times.
“The new generation of consumers has completely different habits,” the story quoted Jim Kennedy, The A.P.’s vice president for strategic planning, and went on: To feed those habits and manage the news cycle more efficiently, The A.P. will change the way it files, edits and distributes stories, opening at least four regional editing hubs as part of a plan it calls AP2.0.
The bad news:
Although The A.P. has expanded its staff over the last few years to nearly 4,100 employees, its rivals have struggled as the newspapers and newsrooms they served have shrunk. Reuters, the London-based wire service, cut 3,000 jobs in 2003 alone. United Press International, the onetime giant that fostered the careers of Walter Cronkite and Helen Thomas, has withered to a bare-bones operation in Washington and has been controlled by a company owned by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, since 2000.
(No mention of AFP at all)
The sort-of good news?
The A.P.’s nonprofit status means it does not have to worry about falling stock prices and testy shareholders. But like any business, it depends on income for its survival, and is looking more toward advertising for revenue, Mr. Kennedy said.