AP Investigates Wrong Call In Missouri


The venerable Associated Press is presently going through a rough patch. The new Associated Press ‘Member Choice’ pricing plan, which takes place in about a year, has, in recent weeks, drawn protest from newspaper editors around the country. The new cost structure, which was announced in October, drew fire from six Ohio newspaper editors that signed a protest letter on December 21, 2007. Two weeks later, on January 8, 2008 editors Bill Marimow of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Martin Baron of the Globe, and, among others, Susan Goldberg of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland sent a letter in support of the Ohio editors protesting the new a la carte payment plan.

Super Duper Tuesday was not a banner day for the Associated Press. At 11:03 pm EST on Tuesday night, the AP declared Hillary Clinton the winner of the Missouri primary. The AP then revesersed itself on calling the state for the New York Senator at 12:32 a.m. Finally, the state was called in favor of Barack Obama at 2:48 a.m. From the AP:

”The Associated Press was reviewing election results and its internal procedures Wednesday to determine why the news agency had mistakenly declared Hillary Rodham Clinton winner of the Missouri Democratic primary, but said competitive haste wasn’t behind the call.

”… The AP’s erroneous call was based on the actual vote count and analysis of historical and geographic voting patterns — not on an exit poll.

”’There were lots of smart people, experienced people involved in making this call and there was no rush on it at all,’ said Kathleen Carroll, the news cooperative’s executive editor. ‘We need to understand what was missed in there and how it was missed and learn from it.”’

On February 4, Editor and Publisher broke the story that The New York Daily News canceled its AP service a year ago in protest of their policy that members must give two years notice of plans to drop the service.

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