Opinion: Shame on you AP

Post Details:
• James reacts to an AP article about the newspaper industry

The Associated Press, known for its reporting around the world and supplying the news media with succinct articles, compelling photographs, graphics and multimedia, was a little too succinct (maybe even a little callous) in one of its articles published last week.

The article discussed the Chicago Tribune and its efforts to redesign and create a smaller paper beginning in mid-September continue to shoot itself in the foot.

Here is the article:

Chicago Tribune to use Saturday paper to try ideas
Associated Press
12:08 PM CDT, June 20, 2008

CHICAGO - The Chicago Tribune will be using its Saturday editions to test new ideas as it prepares for a smaller, redesigned newspaper starting in mid-September.

All Tribune Company newspapers are shrinking their news sections and trimming pages as part of a cost-saving plan announced earlier this month.

Chicago Tribune editor Ann Marie Lipinski discussed the coming changes in a staff memo Thursday but didn't say how many newsroom jobs will be cut. She told the staff that internal committees will recommend staffing levels within 60 days as they also evaluate what content to keep.

Tribune Company CEO Sam Zell ordered the cuts as part of efforts to pay off a heavy debt load at a time when the newspaper industry is in steep decline.

I will discuss the Tribune situation in another post, but I am upset at the AP for summing up the woes of the newspaper industry by saying it is “in STEEP DECLINE.” Sure, I know the AP writer meant something like “circulations, ad revenue and net income are in steep decline throughout the newspaper industry.” Why not just make a sweeping, misleading statement that the entire industry in general is in STEEP DECLINE? Save yourself some seven words!

I would like everyone to know the newspaper industry is NOT (!!) in decline, one definition of which is (by Dictionary.com) “a failing or gradual loss, as in strength, character, power, or value.” While the newspaper industry may be struggling (unarguably financially) to adapt to a world where “breaking news” and the Internet reign, it is NOT waning in value. Newspaper companies such as The New York Times continue to outshine other sources of news – even the AP at times.

I just wanted to express my disgust at such a sweeping statement and refute what may be the general notion that the newspaper industry is dead. And as for the AP for publishing such an article, I have to say, “Shame on you!”


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