The Associated Press is losing several large contracts for its news service beginning next month.
The Chicago Tribune has announced that starting in January, the Chicago-based paper and six other Tribune-owned papers will drop the Associated Press as its chief wire service.
Along with the Chicago newspaper, six other Tribune-owned papers will also drop their AP contracts. Those papers include the Baltimore Sun, the Orlando Sentinel, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Hartford Courant, the Morning Call of Allentown, PA, and the Daily Press of Newport News, VA. The Tribune’s Los Angeles Times is expected to continue with AP under a separate contract.
“We’re disappointed by this development but recognize this is a time of transition for these seven Tribune newspapers,” said Paul Colford, director of media relations for AP. “We hope they’ll return to AP as their circumstances change. AP continues to diversify its business to enhance the value of our newsgathering for our 1,400 member newspapers and other news organizations worldwide.
“The Los Angeles Times has indicated that it plans to stay with AP. The Times has been a great partner in innovation and developing new AP services for many years.”
The Tribune had already scaled back use of the AP through the use of Reuters' American wire content. Tribune CEO Sam Zell signaled his intentions to reduce reliance on AP services more than four years ago, when the contract was rumored to cost the Tribune company $9 million per year. Chicago media watcher Robert Feder says that switching to Reuters could save the Tribune as much as $5 million a year.
Television news channel CNN cancelled its AP service in 2010, also switching to Reuters. Then CNN president Jim Walton called the change, "an important next step in the content-ownership process … to more fully leverage CNN's global newsgathering investments,” Walton wrote. "Starting today, CNN newsgathering will be the primary source of all content for all of our platforms and services," he said. "The content we offer will be distinctive, compelling and, I am proud to say, our own."
Even so, many local TV stations continue to rely on AP’s ENPS news production service.