Tribune Co. Papers Set to Go Almost AP-less For Trial



AP logoImagine just a few short years ago what a headline like this may draw out from the newspaper industry and newspaper readers alike. The shock of such a claim would be the first reaction followed by the naysayers that would predict the rapid decline and fall of the newspaper company silly enough to make such a move.

Welcome to 2009. The newspaper industry is a shambles and no one is able to cover up the fact anymore. Online delivery of news and media of all sorts has changed the way consumers obtain and ingest the news. As a result the delivery is changing. In a way, it’s like a huge media train wreck that has people doing and saying things never imagined before. Are you shocked, though? Desperate times call for desperate measures and it looks like the Tribune Co. newspapers are ready to at least experiment with an idea that was unfathomable until recently. No AP news wire service for the week of Nov. 8.

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.

While it’s not a complete removal of AP sources for material this is very dramatic considering how the news business has traditionally worked seemingly forever. So where are they getting their news from you ask? Is it all going to fall on the Tribune and its paired down staff? The short answer is no.

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.

How does the AP feel? They’re not really letting on with statements like this one.

“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.

If you read through the comment thread of this article you will find some pretty dissatisfied tribune readers with the current state of the paper so maybe the Tribune Co. figures it can’t get any worse. Or can it?