‘I Don’t Know Where I Got my News Today’

John Hockenberry, host of public radio’s “The Takeaway” opened a discussion with AP president and CEO Tom Curley and Knight Foundation president Alberto Ibarguen at the We Media summit Wednesday with that thesis.

More and more consumers don’t know where they’re getting their daily headlines, because of the Web’s “river of news” from which most of us now get our information — including from services like this.

It is that “river of news” that continues to chip away at the traditional service provided by the nation’s oldest news co-operative, the AP, founded in 1846.

“We’re owned by U.S. newspapers and that is a gift and a treasure,” says Curley. “Being able to aggregate and work with the industry is what makes us special, the fact that the consumers don’t understand that, is not a problem. What matters is that we’re able to get our funding and support our journalists going forward at the rate everyone expects.”

With so much information flowing down the river, Ibarguen had this warning: “The first amendment is about to come under serious attack because of the amount of speech being protected.”

Despite the warnings and the uncertainties associated with the transformational state of the media, Curley and Ibarguen are bullish on the future of media.

Asked what their favorite new media tools are, Ibarguen talked up Spot.US, the open source project that funds community-powered reporting. Curley was most excited about new cameras — still and video — being put “in the hands of the consumers.” The AP worked with Canon, buying up the production line of one model, then dispatching dozens of them to the Vancouver Olympics. Those cameras captured some of the most memorable shots of the games, including the one above taken by the AP’s Chris O’Meara of Canada’s game winning, overtime goal to win Ice Hockey gold.

The We Media conference continues today at the University of Miami.