If you were inventing The AP today, what would it look like?

For the last six months or so, there have been reports (Ohio) /  (Maine) of some U.S. dailies developing ad hoc relationships to share news within states. This has been the realm of The Associated Press for almost a century and a half. But Internet technology has made it possible for newspapers to share news more quickly and at little or no cost. If you were inventing The AP today, what would the relationships look like? How might the architecture envisioned by The Information Valet Project help?

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One response to “If you were inventing The AP today, what would it look like?

  1. News websites (let’s just write off daily print papers, shall we?) could evolve an Associated Sites system, were stories get shared on two levels. Imagine a large network of local web-first news operations, which might or might not put some of their content into print weekly or several times weekly (and into occasional niche products).

    Level One would be simple aggregation. A site in, say, Lewiston Maine would publish a ton of self-generated local news and info, and have an “around the state” section where they aggregate links to stories on other Maine sites. No need for money to change hands. Ditto, “around the nation” and “around the world” items.

    But on Level Two, if something of statewide import happens in Portland, Lewiston will want to feature that with more than just an aggregation link—they want the whole story, with a picture, above the “fold.” In the old AP model, AP collects that kind of thing and then re-distributes it, at a weekly fee, to members (in addition to generating content of its own). But RSS feeds and whatnot make the middleman superfluous, as Maine and Ohio are demonstrating. In the new model (and they may well have something like this figured out in those states), you need a system of payments, within the network, for content that’s shared above the aggregator level. So, back to you—will InfoValet supply a simple way to monitor this sharing and track who owes what to whom inside the network? And, can InfoValet create a seamless multi-state network? After all, a Vermont newspaper, for example, tends to run a lot of New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and even Quebec news. Finally, can InfoValet facilitate the shared content flow itself, so that network members have access to it as it’s published online, or even sooner, and don’t have to go surfing for it on their own. Something like the keyword tools that editors have on the AP system.

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