Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Will Scripps Follow Tribune in Dropping AP?

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Will Scripps Follow Tribune in Dropping AP?

Article excerpt

Just days after Tribune Co. revealed it had given its two-year notice to possibly drop the Associated Press following a recent new rate structure, another major newspaper chain indicated it is considering the same move and is negotiating with AP over rates.

E.W. Scripps, which owns 17 daily papers including the Rocky Mountain News in Denver and The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn., declined to say if it already had or had not given notice to AP.

But in an e-mail to E&P, Tim King, Scripps vice president for corporate communications and investor relations, stated: "At this point, all I'd be comfortable saying is that we are a member in good standing of the AP, but we have been engaged in discussions concerning pricing so the future is uncertain."

Rocky Mountain News Editor and Publisher John Temple declined to comment on the situation when asked if notice had been given or if the chain would drop its AP membership. But he said he did believe his paper could operate without AP content. "I think we are very close to being able to do so," Temple told E&P. "I think there are different papers that could put out a paper without AP in different ways. I believe you can do it and satisfy the needs of your readers."

AP Spokesman Paul Colford declined to comment on Scripps' situation. The news cooperative just recently received the required two-year notice from Tribune, which owns nine daily papers, that could result in that chain dropping AP in 2010. Several editors at a handful of Scripps papers declined to talk about the AP on the record, although several said changes could be in the offing. Don Kausler, editor of the Anderson (S.C.) Independent-Mail, said he did not know exactly when or if notice had been given, but said papers are ready to do without AP if needed. "It's much like what Tribune is doing, leaving options open," Kausler said. "When AP requires two-year's notice, we see no harm in exercising that option. That doesn't mean that in two years we won't be running AP stories, but by giving notice, that can happen."

Kausler said for a small paper like his, which often runs no more than one page a day of national and international news, AP can be expensive. "Sports is probably the area where papers are more dependent on it," he adds. …

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