Communication Matters - our blog on trends and events


The shifting power within journalism is more than a new stripe on the same court

First of all, the stripe metaphor was Tom Curley’s deal. The CEO of the Associated Press, speaking at the World Media Summit in Beijing this week, talked of sweeping change in the world of journalism. He compared it to the first time someone placed a three-point line on a college basketball court.

“The NCAA painted an arc on the basketball courts…..The game changed immediately….Strategies changed….The court, though finite, suddenly was expanded.”

Curley argued that the AP and the world of journalism need to maintain their fundamental values, while becoming far more interesting—and aggressive.

“The choices are harder than ever. The culture and the economy have changed along with the technology of the digital age,” he said.

“From all visible signs, (the world) is not a place where a news organization can survive by just doing business as usual, creating and marketing content.”

“The biggest names in journalism are struggling to find their place in this new game.”

Curley envisions a world where the AP, and presumably other media, employ blogs, Twitter feeds and new tracking software to market news.

Aggregators, which provide information to readers for free, would no longer get access to information media companies paid to create.

AP and its members also want to produce their own “NewsGuide” of aggregated content, brought together by participating editors, Curley said.

“Step one is to protect published news content against unauthorized exploitation. Step 2 is to aggregate and index published news content so that aggregators can better point their users to the published content. Step 3 is to enable new content licensing models for use of the published content with support for payments models that individual publishers may adopt.”

Then he issued a challenge to aggregators such as Google. “We will no longer tolerate the disconnect between the people who devote themsevles—at great human and economic cost—to gathering the news of public interest and those who profit from it without supporting it.”

The Nieman Journalism Lab’s Zachary M. Seward offered some context and an analysis of Curley’s speech.

In addition, Seward reported the AP is negotiating an aggregation and software deal with Microsoft, at Google’s expense.

Curley is shooting behind the three-point line, going for broke. Problem is, good shooters rarely make half their three-point shots. Curley, and other media leaders, need a better average than that if they are to turn around the fortunes of newsgathering organizations around the world.

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