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The AP Today Feb 202001 As the 20th century gives way to the 21st the Associated Press must innovate as well as continue to meet the needs of its people Being first being accurate and being fair are still crucial but may no longer be enough In recent years supplemental wires blossomed to compete with the AP for space in the dailies Non-stop cable news led by CNN has eroded the breaking news franchise of newspapers Now the Internet creates a challenge unlike any the AP has ever faced The Internet diminishes the APs traditional advantage in the distribution of news But the biggest problem for the AP is that the Internet magnifies an inherent weakness in the wire services cooperative structure The AP must serve the needs of the more than 1500 newspapers that it owns So the AP must find ways to help members develop their online operations even when the members arent sure exactly what they want The Internet is as much an economic force as a journalistic one The AP must develo p its business in cyberspace without competing with its members who are also trying to establish a presence there What are they going to do Are they going to distribute news as widely as possible on the Internet or restrict themselves to member services and supporting member efforts Are they going to try to be in the business themselves with an ad-driven product or not These questions will have to be answered soon and if the wrong decision is made it may level the AP There is also the problem with salaries and the AP In most places AP salaries stack up well But in larger cities AP reporter salaries generally lag behind their newspaper counterparts The APs company-wide turnover rate is 12 percent Pay increase have occurred but in the ever competitive economy that may not be enough to hold on to the good writers
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