Overall, member papers give AP good grades p. 14

By: Tony Case

86% say they are satisfied or somewhat
satisfied with Associated Press services
and 81% believe the wire is a good value sp.

EDITORS SAY THEIR top challenges these days are inadequate resources, too little time and ever-changing technology, according to an Associated Press Managing Editors survey of AP subscribers.
Respondents were generally pleased with the news cooperative’s reporting on national and international events, Washington and sports but thought it could do a better job of state coverage.
Of the 486 editors who answered a questionnaire mailed to 1,500 AP members in April, 86% said they were satisfied or somewhat satisfied with AP services and 81% believed the wire was a good value. Only 64% judged the performance of individual state bureaus as good or excellent.
The bureaus were criticized in the areas of identifying trends, illustrating stories, providing sidebars and spot news photos, and covering health, agriculture and business.
The findings were reported at the recent APME convention by Reid MacCluggage, who is chairman of the AP critique committee, which designed the survey, and editor of the Day, New London, Conn., which financed the project. The Milwaukee Journal research department, under the leadership of director of public opinion research Jeff Browne, conducted the survey.
AP president and CEO Lou Boccardi noted at the Philadelphia gathering that AP is in the midst of a three-year program to add 50 people to the bureaus in response to complaints about state coverage. He urged member newspapers to help improve the state reports by contributing news to AP’s bureaus.
Bill Ahearn, vice president and executive editor, said AP is using various means to improve state reporting, including bureau training programs and seminars for news editors.
“State reports are the life lines of the AP. Individually, each one generates and contributes to the state’s news agenda. Collectively, they feed, support and reinforce each day’s national news and photo report,” he said.
Nearly two-thirds of the survey respondents said their papers take news services in addition to AP because of those organizations’ expertise, writing quality, enterprise or initiative. But AP beat the competition when it came to timeliness and completeness, and a large majority said AP’s technical performance was superior.
Larger papers were more critical of AP than smaller ones in several key areas, including national and state coverage, education, health, business and education reporting, identifying trends, and the dissemination of graphics and statistics. Seventy percent of survey respondents represented papers with less than 50,000 circulation.
Editors of evening dailies were evenly divided on whether AP provides them with fresh news and features.
?( Bill Ahearn, vice president and executive editor, said AP is using various means to improve state reporting, including bureau training programs and seminars for news editors.) [Photo & Caption]

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