(From the diaries -- kos)
In case you're wondering why The Associated Press is so zealously defensive about people saying newspapers don't need them, it's because newspapers don't need them.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is the latest paper to cancel AP service. In Washington, The Spokesman Review of Spokane canceled around the same time that The Bakersfield Californian cut ties. Several smaller newspapers have joined in. In Ohio, eight of the top newspapers, including The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Columbus Dispatch, The Cincinnati Enquirer and The Toledo Blade, decided to create their own network, the Ohio News Organization. Now they share local news without submitting it to the AP.
You can expect this trend to continue.
The reason is that with multiple 24-hour news networks, countless news sites online, and even news content on cell phones, consumers can access news from almost anywhere for free. Commoditized news like what the AP offers doesn't add much value to a newspaper while costing newspapers hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars a year. Even after newspapers demanded the Associated Press reduce its fees next year, that cut of approximately 10% still makes the AP a very large budget item for progressively smaller newspaper budgets.
The Associated Press's response to the changing media landscape has been less than impressive. Most famously, it was ridiculed for trying to charge bloggers for using five-word excerpts at up to $2.50 a word. With the increasing threat of mass newspaper cancellation, it's easy to understand why the AP has been so reactive and heavy-handed lately. While Ron Fournier's predecessor worries, "I just hope he doesn't destroy it", the slow death of the AP may continue regardless.