December 14, 2011

Is #AP prostituting itself?

Possibly, if you look at this story about what sounds like another cockeyed initiative that shows the Net-stupidity of AP's board vis-a-vis anybody under the age of 35:
The Associated Press said Wednesday that it has entered into a partnership with WhoSay Inc., a company that helps celebrities manage interactions with fans through social networks and traditional media outlets.
The AP will give celebrities who are members of WhoSay the option to provide exclusive, personal photos and videos to the AP for licensing to major media companies worldwide. ...

The company puts celebrities in greater control of —and offers the opportunity to profit from— their photographic lives. It also allows them to spread their social media posts easily across sites like Twitter and Facebook. As an example, (Sofia ) Vergara posted a picture of a family lunch in Miami last month. The photo has a copyright symbol, indicating she owns it and can make money from it if, say, a magazine wants to publish it.
At the least, it sounds like it's cheapening itself. Basically, WhoSay looks like an elitist version of Twitter. Which makes it look very much like AP is doing celebrity butt-kissing. Great. AP's entertainment feed will look like TMZ soon.

And, shock me that Dean Singleton, as ongoing chairman of the board (who should have been canned when MediaNews filed Chapter 11) would think this is a wonderful idea. Hell, look at AP's whole board of directors.

Singleton/MediaNews? Chapter 11. Mary Junck/Lee Enterprises? Chapter 11. Donna J. Barrett/CNHI? Should be in Chapter 11, but, being owned by the Alabama state pension system, probably can't be. Craig A. Dubow/Gannett? Should be. Still doing mandatory furloughs, isn't it? Michael Golden/New York Times? The company that has a fake paywall and lies about it. Paul C. Tash/St. Petersburg Times? Lives on its Poynter reputation. Katharine Weymouth/Washington Post? Would be in Chapter 11 if not for Kaplan. Gary Pruitt/McClatchy? Wouldn't surprise me if it winds up there.

As Michael Hirschorn at The Atlantic notes, it's precisely strategies like this that have made the general public undervalue daily newspapers for years if not decades. Add in the AP board originally selling its content to online aggregators for pennies, and the circle is complete.

AP? As an organization? Ideally, it would up its rates to Google, et al. But, with the degree that both Reuters and Agence-France Presse have expanded in the US in the past decade, that's probably not that realistic.

And, member papers should play Reuters off AP to negotiate prices down, if needed. Bigger chains should have kept more of their DC bureaus open and tried to bargain down AP at the same time.


Alan Mairson said...

This AP program can be called many different things, but "news" is certainly not one of them.

Thanks for posting this.

Seetha said...

Sorry for sending you this information through a comment, I was unable to find a contact e-mail to message this through.

Texas Freedom Network will be hosting two conjoined events in Houston on January 25th that I felt may be an item of interest to you and your readers. The first event will be a symposium at Rice University on Religion in the 2012 Elections and the second will be a speaking engagement with Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts. In an election year when so much is at stake, why do our politics remain fixated on the culture wars? Both events will focus on examining the turbulent intersection between politics and religion. Here is the general information for both events:

Religion in the 2012 Elections Symposium:
Location: James A. Baker III Hall, Rice University (6100 Main Street)
Time: 1-4:30 PM
Price: Free

An Evening with Pulitzer-Prize Winning Columnist Leonard Pitts:
Location: Congregation Emanu-El (1500 Sunset Boulevard)
Time: 7:00 PM
Price: $20 (Admission free for students who RSVP by e-mail)

The website for the event and purchasing tickets is at If you would be able to place this information on your website and/or social media currents, we would greatly appreciate it. Please let me know if you would like any further information regarding these two events.

Seetha Kulandaisamy
Outreach Intern
Texas Freedom Network
p: 512-322-0545
f: 512-322-0550