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Shocker: Tribune Co. Gives Notice to Drop AP

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Shocker: Tribune Co. Gives Notice to Drop AP

Article excerpt

Tribune Company has given a two-year notice to the Associated Press that its daily newspapers plan to drop the news service, becoming the first major newspaper chain to do so since the recent controversy over new rates began.

Tribune, which owns nine daily papers including the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, joins a growing list of newspapers that have sought to end AP contracts, or given notice of that, following plans to introduce a new controversial rate structure in 2009. The notice was given earlier this week.

AP Spokesman Paul Colford confirmed the cancellation notice, but said he had no more specifics. He issued the following statement about it:

"We understand that in this climate a lot of newspapers are re-examining their strategies. The Associated Press will continue to work with all members of the cooperative to ensure that we are providing the most efficient, valued and essential news service for them."

The notice, of course, does not mean Tribune is cutting AP immediately. The news cooperative requires the two-year notice as part of its current contracts. Negotiations may lead to the termination not moving forward.

Tribune Spokesman Gary Weitman did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday as he is traveling. The notice comes less than a year after Sam Zell, an AP board member, took control of Tribune.

Tribune daily papers besids the flagship in Chicago affected include The Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; The Orlando Sentinel; Red Eye of Chicago; the Hartford Courant; The Baltimore Sun; The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa.; and The Daily Press of Newport News, Va.

"I think many editors are concerned about the new financial rate model that AP has rolled out," Earl Maucker, editor of the Sun Sentinel, said about the notice. "It is a natural approach for us to take a hard look at that. Are there other alternatives out there that would provide the depth and breadth of coverage we need?"

In recent months, other non-Tribune papers have also given the required two-year's notice to drop AP. Those include: The Star Tribune of Minneapolis, The Bakersfield Californian, The Post Register of Idaho Falls, and The Yakima Herald-Republic and Wenatchee World, both of Washington. …

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