Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Future of News Follow-up - Associated Press' New Strategy

If you read my previous post on the future and sustainability of news, one of the things I focused on as potentially being more sustainable were longer form analysis and opinion.

Particularly as companies like Narrative Science and others automate information gathering and basic content creation, reporters will have to focus on adding-more value to whatever they're writing.

Well, the Associated Press recently put out a memo to its staffers talking about it's 'New Distinctiveness' (Link to Article)

It's essentially a memo outlining how the Associated Press will battle for relevancy, and it hits on a lot of themes I was talking about. Below is an excerpt (emphasis mine)

Let's start with something that’s obvious but worth laying out plainly: That "next cycle" we speak of so often in The Associated Press is now. Not 12 hours from the first breaking news, not even six hours, but one, maybe two hours from it -- and maybe even faster than that.

This is hardly something that we’re just waking up to. But it is accelerating by the week. As we look around the media landscape in recent months, over and over we’re seeing the same thing. AP wins when news breaks, but after an hour or two we're often replaced by a piece of content from someone else who has executed something more thoughtful or more innovative. Often it's someone who has taken what we do (sometimes our reporting itself) and pushed it to the next level of content: journalism that's more analytical, maybe a fresh and immediate entry point, a move away from text, a multimedia mashup or a different story form that speaks more directly to users.

Sound familiar?

Some of their specific examples of new strategies are very much along the same lines as to what I was saying:

Thematic Thinking. We're going to be much more aggressive in identifying themes off the news -- angles the world is thinking about -- and digging deeper. Unique and compelling entry points to stories are key here, and those can’t be done on breaking-news autopilot. Many of these new approaches will be infused into the main story on a news event across platforms; that’s as important as creating new stories to stand alone.

Journalism With Voice. We're going to be pushing hard on journalism with voice, with context, with more interpretation. This does not mean that we’re sacrificing any of our deep commitment to unbiased, fair journalism. It does not mean that we're venturing into opinion, either. It does mean that we need to be looking for ways to be more distinctive and stand out in the field -- something our customers need and want. The why and the how of the news are as crucial as the who, what, when and where.

Going Deeper? Breaking-news autopilot? More interpretation?

Agreed. Interesting to see how they'll manage that.

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