After reading this article in yesterday's New York Times I couldn't help but scratch my head and ask "why?". The Columbus Dispatch spends $800K per year on A.P. stories to round out their newspaper's content. $800K. Even though this syndicated content is a very important ingredient to any newspaper's formula, that's a large number, particularly in these troubling times (and in this struggling industry). So while I understand why newspapers have paid these syndication fees in the past, I don't understand why they plan to do so in the future.
Why don't all the newspapers of the world unite and simply share their content with each other? (OK, there's the radical and possibly naive suggestion.) There would have to be rules in place so that one paper isn't simply constantly sponging from all the others, but reasonable policies could easily be developed.
It seems like the A.P. was a solution to yesterday's problem. Before the advent of the Internet and all the ways to move e-content from point A to point B it was a very useful model. But haven't we gotten to the stage where all the newspapers could form their own new federation and accomplish the same objectives? The article talks about some local initiatives where several papers in Ohio formed a co-op to address this; why not take it up several notches and build a worldwide co-op?
Newspapers are apparently contractually obligated to give the A.P. two years' notice of cancellation. Fine. Use the next 24 months to hammer out a global co-op plan and move on!