AP’s Curley: We’re Even Putting News on Nintendo

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The Internet is bringing numerous changes to the media industry, but the fundamentals of newsgathering remain the same, Associated Press President and CEO Tom Curley said Thursday.

“As we consider the digital future though, let’s be very clear about one thing: Technology may change how journalists work, but it has never changed what journalists do,” he said in a speech to the Seoul Digital Forum 2007.

“Speaking truth to power or acting as the watchdog of the powerful is one of journalism’s enduring values,” Curley said.

For AP, a news cooperative founded in 1846 and traditionally focused on newspapers and broadcast outlets, technological advances in news delivery have meant big changes in recent years, including a constant search for new ways to deliver content via digital means.

“The clear imperative today is that we have to go where the users are, and fit our content and interactivity to the screen they happen to be using,” Curley said in his multimedia presentation to the forum.

“Consumers are consuming more content than ever, but we have to provide it in new ways and under different terms from those that drove our business through the 20th century,” he said.

The forum, an annual three-day gathering of leading technology and media industry figures sponsored by South Korea’s SBS television network, this year drew Google Inc. Chairman Eric Schmidt, among others. Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer attended last year.

As an example of an unexpected delivery channel, Curley said AP recently announced a deal to put news on the Nintendo Wii game console, a move he called “a big stretch from the front page of the daily newspaper.”

Curley also said news providers, which already have forged relationships with Internet titans such as Google and Yahoo, also must look to new players, in particular MySpace and other social networking sites for opportunities.

At a news conference following the speech, Curley emphasized AP’s “commitment to the most important and serious of stories,” illustrated by its having about 200 people covering Iraq.

Curley, who took the helm of AP in 2003 after serving as president and publisher of USA Today, added that people’s interests and views are diverse and the Internet is making them more so, meaning other areas such as entertainment will be duly covered, as they always have.

Curley said public interest generated by the rise of a new medium, the movie industry, drove AP to open a bureau in Las Vegas in the 1930s to cover marriages and divorces of Hollywood stars.

“We expect to be covering the wars and we expect to be covering entertainment, and don’t forget sports, which is an important form of entertainment,” he said. “It’s all about balance.”

The Associated Press is a not-for-profit cooperative owned by its member newspapers and broadcasters, a global network providing coverage of news, sports, business, entertainment, politics and technology in all media formats. On any given day, more than half the world’s population sees news from AP.

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