Tuesday, December 04, 2007

AP confirms the hubs

As reported here a little more than a month ago, AP is going to regional editing hubs for its domestic service. So sayeth the New York Times.

The official AP line is that there will be no layoffs, but some people may have to move. You can read that as you wish, but that equals layoffs, or at least major disruptions for a significant number of staff.

Still out for the jury, of course, is whether regional editing hubs can know the local area enough to prevent mistakes. As noted earlier, previous experiments in this by UPI were not very successful in that regard.

Key to this will be what level of editing is being done. If it is simply to create hubs to file the national wires, it could work. There long was talk of adding hubs in Kansas City and L.A. to take the pressure off New York and "follow the sun." AP has done this overseas, but AP's foreign service is a little different animal.

But if the hubs are going to control the flow of domestic copy back to the states, that's a different thing.

The Times story's a bit ambiguous on this: The regional hubs will handle coverage in their areas, and the New York desk will focus on “the stories that are the tip top of the day,” Ms. Carroll said. (That's Kathleen Carroll, the AP's executive editor. AP does not have anything on its Web site about this, so no way to triangulate at the moment.)

Interesting line in the Times story: Mr. Kennedy [Jim Kennedy, AP's VP for strategic planning] said another goal was to get editors in the regional bureaus back into reporting, which would increase the amount of content, and to reduce the number of people who work on an article during a news cycle.

Don't want to read too much into that, but if I read it right, it sounds like the state-level news editors, who really knew their areas, are about to be marginalized.

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At 12/4/07, 1:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What goes around, comes around.

AP went to hub arrangements in the late 60s and early 70s, then spent much of the 80s and 90s undoing those changes. Now they're going to spend another two decades messing with the system.


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