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August 01, 2008

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Paul Colford

Sent to Alan Mutter, of Newsosaur:

I’m sorry you did not use the information shared with you when you contacted the AP in June.

Your question was this: “Over the last three to five years, has the trend been for AP to develop more or less original content? As newspapers cut their staffs and spend more time feeding their own websites, will AP have a shortage of content?”

“This is an area of some misunderstanding,” I replied.

“Only a tiny fraction (less than 2 percent) of the national and international stories sold by AP to Google, Yahoo and other popular portals and web sites originated with members of the AP cooperative – typically a scoop, in which case the member paper is cited,” I added.

“Except for this tiny fraction, the stories sold to Google and other web sites are original AP reports written by our own staffers.”

I would add that, based on a limited internal study done in 2007, pickups from member papers comprised 45 percent of AP state wire copy.

But a key distinction: AP’s state wires are not licensed to Google and other online aggregators. These commercial online customers get a selection only of AP’s national and international stories.

Thank you.

Paul Colford

Director of Media Relations

The Associated Press

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