Thursday, August 21, 2008

All right. Well, take care of yourself.

Editor & Publisher contributor Joe Strupp is reporting that five newspapers will no longer carry stories from the Associated Press. The Post Register of Idaho Falls, Idaho, The Bakersfield Californian, The Spokesman-Review, The Yakima Herald-Republic and Wenatchee World of Washington say new rates for the syndicated news service have priced them out. Four of the five newspapers will stop carrying AP stories in the summer of 2010.

Read "Idaho Falls Paper Drops AP -- Blames New Rates" and "Four More Newspapers Intend To Drop AP Over Rates" for more information.

The Wenatchee World sent a letter of cancellation at the start of July. The Post Register, The Bakersfield Californian and The Yakima Herald-Republic gave AP notice that each publication will cancel its service in two years effect August 2010. The Spokesman-Review plans to find a way out of the contract within 30 days.

Each paper will save money and place a wider focus on local stories.

The Internet has changed how I read the news and I don't go to the local newspaper for Associated Press content. I look to national outlets, such as CNN, The New York Times and Time for the sort of stories AP is likely to produce - straight-forward national news, general interest pieces and full-length exclusives. AP stories in small publications, like the five that will cancel the syndicated subscription, feels odd. I think to myself, "Can't I find this elsewhere?"

Publications can't afford to be everything to everyone.

I have a feeling newspapers are starting to understand this. They recognize that they purchase these stories for a premium price and the stories fail to generate as much traffic as local stories. As long as readers keep going elsewhere for national news, many more newspapers will weigh the cost of syndicated content.

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