The Economist has a look at the backbone of news organizations this week, the wire services, and how they're reshaping their input and output in the digital age.
The magazine asserts that wires may actually have a brighter future than their supplier/client newspapers because of their ability to sell directly to the consumer. The standing question is whether they'll sufficiently invest in reporting on the ground to ensure they don't need the supplying papers to cover the news.
It's been interesting, as a former wire service reporter and manager, to see the services rework their approaches. I noted this week that The Canadian Press is seeking investment to bolster its multiplatform journalism, and our Canwest News Service continues to develop new distribution channels for its content derived from the chain's newsrooms and its own staff.
In the end the services are in good shape to weather the storm.
Earlier this month CNN invited about three dozen print editors to Atlanta to discuss the viability of a new news service that would be a lower-cost version of Associated Press. About 100 U.S. newspapers have served the required two-year notice to leave AP, principally because of rates.
The results of the Atlanta gathering were seemingly mixed. A number of smaller papers appear interested, but the larger markets don't appear publicly convinced ---- although it should be noted they haven't seen a service yet and also know the economics of their business are so challenged that dropping AP may be a necessity in years to come.
The San Francisco Chronicle has an update on the CNN option. CNN is saying a decision on whether to proceed will be made within weeks, not months.
Ken Doctor has a very thorough look at the issues involving CNN's proposal to enter the wire-service business as a supplier to newspapers of multi-platform content. Last month CNN indicated it has assembled the machinery to provide national and international content to papers in competition with Associated Press, the standard-bearer under some stress for its rate structure from its cash-strapped member news organizations.
He evaluates the pitch CNN will make in a couple of weeks to the papers (it has invited reps to Atlanta for an unveiling) and poses nine good, if circuitous, questions about the strategic and tactical challenges in the plan.