Friday, May 01, 2009

AP's chief whining about Google instead of innovating

AP CEO Tom Curley doesn't grok the web. That much is apparent from his threat to stop feeding Google its news articles. Curley's threat was plain: should both parties not arrive at a deal soon, "They [Google] will not get our copy going forward."

The AP is a cooperative news-gathering and reporting organization, founded 163 years ago by a consortium of publishers. The Internet has obviously compressed its traditional business lines and it only grudgingly has accepted Google's role as the chief navigator of the web.

And rather than transforming his organization through innovative ideas, it seems to me that Curley seeks to stop time or, perhaps, even reverse it. Off the top of my head, I can think of a dozen projects that the AP could explore to adapt to the era of social media:

• Crowd-sourcing articles, photos and video clips to improve quantity

• Crowd-editing articles and videos to improve quality

• Marshaling top bloggers as paid contributors (reporters, op-ed authors, etc.) at a fraction of the cost of the Dowds and Cohens -- with higher quality to boot

• Leveraging real-time news feeds like Twitter to report on noteworthy trends, news, places and people of interest

Curley: Improvise, adapt, overcome. Quit whining about Google and create your own platform that complements it or competes with it. Anything less consigns your troubled company to the dustbin of history.

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