False incentives mean fewer AP interns

Posted: December 31st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , , , | View Comments

Photo courtesy of Douglas Muth

As 2010 comes to a close and the journalism industry counts losses from another year of sliding revenues, the Associated Press has decided to put its internship programs (and some other recruitment efforts) on a one-year hiatus. In the professional journalism world of late, cost-cutting matters almost as much as reporting the news. And despite controversy about the role of interns and the merits of paid versus unpaid in the industry, the program is low-hanging fruit.

Proponents of paid internship programs point to several functions they deem essential to education, training and growth in the industry: that internships grease the wheels for top journalism talent, and that without payment, positions would be available only to those wealthy enough to sustain themselves without pay for the position’s duration.

But incentives matter, and they aren’t well aligned to push the AP to continue the program. Read the rest of this entry »

Why it's best not to anger Google

Posted: April 7th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , , , | View Comments

bear_pokeIn their most recent attempt to stall innovation and flail their arms wildly about in a misguided attempt to summon help from anyone but themselves, the Associated Press has decided to pursue litigation against aggregators who “walk off with our work under misguided legal theories.”

Fair use, by the way, is the misguided legal theory to which they’re referring. And Google is the largest intended target of this unanimous AP board decision, which will pave the way for the negotiation of a new contract between the search and news giants.

As other bloggers have pointed out, the AP’s groundbreaking tactics largely mirror that of the RIAA, which decided to sue the pants off song-stealing pirates, like dead grandmothers and children.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are some similarities between the litigious strategy of the RIAA and the AP, but there are a few reasons why biting the hand that feeds is even more dangerous for a news organization that relies on traffic and trust to survive. Read the rest of this entry »

AP position saves time, includes firing date

Posted: February 25th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , , , | View Comments

carlapThere’s good news today for out-of-work journalists looking for a way to pay down the debt on their increasingly devalued journalism degrees — the Associated Press in Raleigh is hiring.

Apparently crushed under the weight of the multitude of bills gushing forth from the Legislative Building — like the reintroduction of a constitutional gay marriage ban that has failed six times in the past and a ban on smoking and cell phones in prison — the AP has decided to hire extra help to deal with it all.

But for those journos a little nervous about the declining state of the press, never fear. This job comes complete with a firing date! The 18-week assignment will come to an end with the General Assembly’s long legislative session, at which point the AP will collect its clothes off your bedroom floor and quickly tiptoe out of the room mumbling about forgetting an important meeting and promising to call soon.

Hey, don’t gripe. You knew what this was.