Last week, Senior Editor of Editor & Publisher Joe Strupp reported that editors at eight of Ohio's top newspapers have agreed to share content each day on a private site, just three months after publicly opposing a new Associated Press rate structure.
"If we were in a flat revenue environment, this might work. But as you know, this is not the case. The environment now is extremely challenging and the new structure seems not to acknowledge the current reality," stated a letter sent to AP President Tom Curley by the Ohio editors.
The letter also criticized several issues besides the fees, including "the delay in moving breaking stories on the wire, failing to credit newspapers for some stories, and denying requests for coverage of state events." Despite these complaints, the papers will not stop using AP content.
"This idea of content sharing is not about cutting back what we do. It is about sharing our content with the other large Ohio newspapers and getting their content in return," read a memo from Akron Beacon Journal Editor Bruce Winges. "The goal is to have stories that benefit the readers of all of our newspapers. A secondary benefit is that readers will know how much is produced by our newsrooms."
AP Spokesman Paul Colford responded that AP will "empower newspapers to set up their own member-to-member sharing of content via AP Exchange, a highly versatile and robust platform."
In February, AP officials addressed concerns about the new rate structure by attributing the added costs to the presidential campaign and upcoming Olympics.