AP alters Web strategy, plans new online news sites

NEW YORK: The Associated Press (AP) is altering its Web strategy by planning online destinations to direct consumers to news Web sites it considers authoritative sources, thereby competing with search engines.

NEW YORK: The Associated Press (AP) is altering its Web strategy by planning online destinations to direct consumers to news Web sites it considers authoritative sources, thereby competing with search engines. The announcement came just after the AP's chairman said the group would seek greater control over its online content.

The planned pages will refer consumers searching for news on prominent topics to Web sites that most thoroughly cover news events, said Jim Kennedy, VP and director of strategic planning at the AP. He added that the collective, which is owned by a coalition of US newspapers, also aims to cut down on the unauthorized use of AP content by Web sources.

“We're contemplating an initiative for news search pages or landing pages tied to keywords and news events,” he said. “In the situation I'm talking about, there would be a page created that would aggregate content on that topic… really meant to be a news map pointing people in the right direction.”

Kennedy added that AP editors would then use Twitter and other social networking tools to alert consumers to the newly created pages.

William Dean Singleton, AP chairman, reportedly told the annual gathering of the Newspaper Association of America on April 6 that the organization “can no longer stand by and watch others walk off with our work under misguided legal theories.” The speech was widely interpreted in media reports as a broadside against Google. Eric Schmidt, CEO of the Web search company, which has a content-use agreement with the AP, responded that he was “confused” by the brouhaha and reiterated that Google sends traffic to newspaper's Web sites.

“In terms of highlighting professional sources, we do this within Google News, which is an aggregation property that sends people to definitive news sources,” added Gabriel Stricker, global communications and public affairs spokesman at Google.

Asked about AP plans to build an aggregation site, Stricker said that Google “welcomes other participants in the space.”

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