As international newswires like AFP and The Associated Press begin to regulate how much copy can be taken from their articles, it’s not just blogs that are going to feel the pinch. Major newspapers also rely on these news organizations from everything from their Op-Ed pieces to their front page cover stories. And with many North American papers trying to hyper-localize their product instead of deal with the cost of foreign correspondents, they will be needing these news agencies more than ever.
Or will they? The Tribune Company announced yesterday that it will be conducting a trial run of its papers (mostly) free of news from The Associated Press to see if the papers can do without the service. Still, it’s not much of an experiment: Sam Zell’s papers will still be relying on Reuters, GlobalPost, and other international news orgs. Whatever Tribune is trying to prove here is already rendered moot on their dependence on outside news bureaus. Ironically, one of the places Tribune will be taking their news from is The New York Times, which is entering a relationship with The Chicago News Cooperative, a non-profit news organization made up of ex-Tribune employees, for content for its local Chicago edition.
We’ve asked a similar question before in our polls, but we’d like to hear your thoughts: Can publications exist without independent news bureaus? And if not, what kind of content should publishers be willing to pay these outside services for?