• Joseph O'Halloran

Staying ahead of the pack

The word legendary is bandied around freely, sometimes to the point of making it meaningless. Yet for the Associated Press (AP), it is accurate. In a world where fake news flourishes, trusted news brands have never been so important. We see how it is still at the head of the (press) pack.

At the end of October 2017, the US government released hitherto unreleased, if not heavily redacted, files on the Kennedy assassination. A godsend for historians and those obsessed with the Kennedys, looking for a unique angle on the fateful day in Dallas in November 1963. The Associated Press was there on the day, with men (yes) on the ground. In fact, in its archive, of which more later, there is a film of the JFK assassination. AP’s people are still on the ground reporting news – real news – keeping the flag flying for the trusted news provider, wherever news is happening. And, as ever, adopting the latest in newsgathering and broadcast techniques so that broadcasters round the world are investing in AP feeds for their new services.

Over the past decade, the challenge of news production has shifted from it being hard to gather news content to it now being hard to manage the gargantuan levels of news content. While news gathering is still costly and resource-intensive, the rise of social media and digital news outlets has made it far easier to gather news. The challenge, says AP, has now shifted to how to manage all the possible news that could be covered. For traditional news providers, declining news resources has meant that not all news stories can be covered. For digital news providers, especially the start-ups, managing the curation of all possible news is equally challenging. So how does it keep up with the level of content coming in from all directions?

Paul Shanley, AP’s business development director, puts forward the case that aggregation is of vital importance of for the future of news. And news for AP goes back from the JFK assassination in its vast archive that actually includes pictures of the Hindenburg. And, says Shanley, goes even further.

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