Monday, March 2, 2009

The Associated Press

I have always followed the news rather closely, and despite frequently noticing the small print declaring various articles "AP articles" or that the reporter was an "AP Reporter," I had never really stopped to consider the vast influence the organization had. The AP is global, with branches in almost every major country and sources which rival those of any national intelligence agency. While researching the AP for this presentation, two main points really became clear to me. 

First, it became extremely clear that organizations such as the AP and its competitors (Reuters, etc) are a double edged sword. While the act of pooling resources and information allows the individual consumer to have access to much more news on a global perspective, it also tends to flavor much of the news we receive with the perceptions of those agencies. If an educated consumer takes the time to gather their information from multiple sources these problems are largely mitigated, but for every educated consumer there are two who blindly follow whatever they see in print (opinion, not statistic). 

The second thing I really began to understand was the role technology played in the news media. All news agencies are out to make a profit, and they all strive to do so by providing the most accurate and up-to-date information to their consumers in the fastest and most convenient manner possible. This drive lead to the implementation of the newest and most cutting-edge technologies, as well as the creation of media conglomerates like the AP. This drive can be seen today in the growing emphasis organizations such as the AP are putting on "new media," despite the discontent it is causing amongst the major newspapers who provide 49% of the AP's annual income. If the AP is willing to risk their single largest source of income for new media, it clearly must be what they perceive as the wave of the future.

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