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The future of press agencies

Middle Man cover

This week AP urged/forced bloggers to use ‘guidelines‘ set by AP when quoting articles. As you might expect this instantly burned all AP’s credits in the blogosphere.

Why? Why would AP be afraid about people copying parts of their articles and linking back? Haven’t we passed this station with newspapers before?

I think there might be a more structural problem for press agencies. Their customers are changing. Most of these agencies are created by newspapers. Combine journalism efforts and save money. But the web is famous for taking out the middle man. In this case the news websites.

Agencies like AP, Reuters and AFP are they source of news. The speed of publishing and access to information that we as consumers demand can do perfectly without a middle man. Press agency news is no longer an article that gives a journalist information to start writing his or her version. What a press agency publishes is the definite version.

Just take an AP headline and Google it.

What’s the problem?
What’s the real problem? Is AP afraid paying customers (news media) will start complaining because they (the agencies) are taking over the online conversation.

Press agencies are the source. And in a web where information is free to move and to be duplicated the source is the most important place.

What’s the future for press agencies? This question is equally important as the question about what the future of newspapers is. In todays news landscape press agencies are leading. Is their future (partly) in serving customers directly? Press agencies are facing changes, but what will be their new business model?

Image found on this forum by Jonny Crossbones

3 replies on “The future of press agencies”

(((I’ve often thought and sometimes even said such things, and I think they are true things, and they are true of things other than journalism. For instance, try to talk to analog musicians about ProTools, or talk to librarians about Google searches. Furthermore, if you go to India and try to find an “Indian elite” that you can talk to like a boffin, they’re all busily trading SMS messages with Sarkozy.)))

Bruce Sterling writes about a similar subject (blogging vs. journalism).

I think the quote above says exactly what the problem is with old meeting new.

It looks like AP is using Attributor software to crawl the web. Attributor is crawling software that doesn’t seem to care much about robots.txt. If you want to block the spider think up something else.

“These services are part of the next-generation licensing and enforcement services we plan to provide to our global network of members and subscribers.”

The Attributor platform will initially monitor stories that are most likely to be popular with readers. The AP will be able to follow their content and spot copyright violations.

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