Monday, December 22, 2008

AP competitor in the offing?

I've said before that one of the stupidest things AP did this past year was take on a small-time news commenting site, the Drudge Retort, over the right to use snippets of AP stories.

It stirred up a furor among the technorati. But more important, I wrote, these are the people who not only can be angry about the AP, but can do something about it (forget about the attempts by AP member to set up their own content-sharing systems; in many ways, that's just the same model scaled down).

So here's one example of what AP may have to look forward to: Newswire 21, a proposal to create an alternative news cooperative using models like Wikipedia and a sort of crowdsourcing (if you extend the concept to the proposed network of "virtual bureaus" likely to be in many more communities than AP offices).

Newswire 21 is talking about subscriptions for $100 a month, a mere fraction of the typical AP cost.

The project is looking for $1 million from the Knight News Challenge to get started. Even if it doesn't get it, I'm sure there are and will be more such ideas forthcoming. The growing number of local online sites and the ease of "webbing" and filtering their output any way you wish makes it almost inevitable.

One of AP's responses, of course, will be "quality" -- a perfectly rational and reasoned response when your customers are primarily editors. But the customer base is now news consumers (I'll include in that any number of blogs, Web sites, social media sites -- anyone who wants to incorporate a news "feed"), and among them, "good enough" often is good enough.

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At 6/11/09, 6:45 PM, Anonymous Tom Murphy said...


Belated thanks for your blog on Here's an update: the project made it to the finals of the Knight News Challenge, beating 35:1 odds; alas, no cigar. But we have been building a following of distinguished journalists who understand the virtue of the project and want to help, and we would welcome more.

We also are looking for some pro bono support in technology and legal work so that we can get this thing going. Anyone who can help can contact me at Editors at


At 6/12/09, 7:52 PM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...


Sorry to hear you didn't get the funding, but do keep me updated.



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