CNN is seeking to capitalize on newspapers’ financial difficulties by offering its own wire service as a lower-cost alternative to The Associated Press.
This week editors from around 30 newspapers are visiting CNN’s Atlanta headquarters to hear the company’s plans to expand its already existing wire service, CNN Wire, to provide coverage of major national and international events on a smaller scale and at a lower cost than The A.P., The New York Times reports.
Newspapers are being battered by the slumping economy and the flight of advertising dollars to the Internet, and a number of papers are unhappy with the cost of The A.P., a nonprofit corporation owned by its 1,400 member newspapers.
Some papers have even announced that they intend to leave The A.P.
Benjamin Marrison, editor of The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio — one of the papers that intends to leave The A.P. — said he is “very interested” in hearing what CNN has to offer.
“They say they have more than 3,000 journalists worldwide, and that’s a formidable group, and we want to see how they intend to deploy those resources, how in tune they are with the needs of newspapers and their Web sites,” he told The Times.
According to a number of newspaper editors, the component of A.P. that would be the most difficult to replace is still photography, which CNN does not plan to offer.
Tom Curley, president and chief executive of The A.P., said the current CNN wire service is “abysmally written,” although he acknowledged that given CNN’s ample cash, “you can fix that in a hurry.”
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