Megan Taylor

front-end dev, volunteacher, news & data junkie, bibliophile, Flyers fan, sci-fi geek and kitteh servant

Publish2 News Exchange vs. AP

This week, Publish2 announced the launch of the Publish2 News Exchange at TechCrunch Disrupt.

It’s being billed as “Craigslisting the Associated Press,” a reference to Craigslist‘s effect on the former monopoly by newspapers of classified ads.

From the Publish2 blog:

With Publish2 News Exchange, newspapers can replace the AP’s obsolete cooperative with direct content sharing and replace the AP’s commodity content with both free, high-quality content from the Web and content from any paid source.

With Publish2 News Exchange, we’ve created what the AP should have become, but can’t because of a classic Innovator’s Dilemma. The New AP is an open, efficient, scalable news distribution platform. We’re enabling newspapers to benefit for the first time from the disruptive power of the Web, and from the efficiency of content production on the Web.

It’s a great idea. Everybody says so.

I’m going to nitpick a little bit. Kool-Aid is delicious, but too much will make you fat. Mind you, I’ve been using P2 to aggregate awesome links to journalistic stuff for over a year now, and I know a bunch of people on their team. I think they’re great.

But somebody has some splainin’ to do.

× Mr. Karp, you have a great company and a great team. Please refrain from the obvious butt kissage. TechCrunch approval is not worth your debasement.

× It was disappointing to hear Karp say that the end game would be an advertising network. Watching news websites flail to make ads work online is getting pretty old. I’d rather see the smart people at P2 find an innovative way to make money and to help news organizations do the same.

× Popular journalism blog Romenesko at Poynter Online posted a quickie on the new direction P2 is heading. What’s interesting is a comment left on the site that points out a major aspect of AP’s business that P2 might not be disrupting.

To paraphrase:

The AP is not just a news exchange, it also provides original reporting from all over the world to it’s members.

I hadn’t seen anyone else mention this, and I’m glad someone did.

Ryan Sholin, Director of News Innovation at P2, responded to this comment – sort of.

“There’s currently no easy way for newspapers in a state or region or reporting on a certain topic in common to share their stories with each other with any degree of efficiency.

Or there wasn’t, until now.

And there hasn’t been any easy way at all for newspapers to bring the wide variety of high quality content available on the Web to their print readership.

Until now.

P2X bridges the gap between print and the Web by connecting natively to print publishing systems. We’re doing it using familiar standards and formats that already plug straight into publishing systems.

There’s no barrier to entry, and no cost.

Try asking a newspaper editor what they think of that.”

eMedia Vitals does a better job of addressing this:

One feature of News Exchange that fell under the radar at TechCrunch is a story ideas database – basically an RFP for story assignments. Editors can post a request for coverage; other members can respond with an existing article or a commitment to write something.

It’s a good way for resource-constrained editors to pool resources to increase the breadth of coverage. “They can say we can’t cover this story ourselves, but if someone else is covering it, we will run it,” Karp said. “Editors at other publications can see that request and ask for the story as well.”

× One last thing: I don’t understand exactly where the money goes in this thing. The best explanation I’ve seen so far also comes from eMedia Vitals:

Initially, the News Exchange will enable newspapers and content providers to freely exchange content, with no fees to Publish2. Newspapers can also use the service to extend existing paid content relationships through a “white list” feature in which a publisher defines who has access to its content.

As the platform scales, Publish2 will begin charging for its service in two ways: for paid content, it will take a portion of the revenue. For free content, it will charge a software licensing fee. Karp wouldn’t specify what Publish2’s cut would be, saying “the market will decide what percentage we charge.”

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  • Megan and I talked a bit after this post was published, but I'll add this here in the comments:

    We're well aware of the quality international reporting the AP does, every single day.

    They have competitors, though, and we'd like to make sure newspapers have a choice.

    We've built a system where an AP story from Kabul can potentially sit right next to one from NPR, or the BBC, or Reuters, or PRI, or NYT, or Talking Points Memo, or The Atlantic. Or *your* blog. All inside the newspaper's print publishing system in a format that's ready for the print edition.

    Editors will decide which story has the most value to their readers. That's a real choice.

    — Ryan Sholin, Director of News Innovation, Publish2

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