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The AP Starts Feeling the Industry's Pain

AP logoAt the epicenter of the troubled U.S. media industry sits the venerable Associated Press, a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio, and television stations. Its members both contribute stories that are circulted over the AP news wire, and publish original articles written by AP's own staffers. In addition, many other media companies, both here and overseas, maintain paid subscriptions to the AP.

By 2005, the AP's news was published and republished by more than 1,700 newspapers, in addition to more than 5,000 television and radio stations . Its photo bank contained over 10 million images. AP operated some 243 in 121 countries. But in recent years, as some AP's member companies laid off more and more reporters, they have become less capable of contributing original material to the cooperative and more dependent on AP's content to fill their pages and airwaves.

This year, a number of newspapers have announced that they are dropping out of AP. Among them are the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Yakima Herald-Republic, and the Idaho Falls Post Register.
Now, according to Editor and Publisher, AP has instituted a hiring freeze. An internal AP memo lays out the news: "As the economy falters, it is imperative that we keep spending in line with revenue. Given these economic times, AP, like most companies, is being prudent about hiring and spending. This week, we instituted a company-wide strategic hiring freeze, which we will re-examine regularly. In addition, we are looking at spending on every level. We'll keep you updated with any additional developments."

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