There is a lot going on in the news world these days, and one of the things that struck me as remarkable is that CNN has decided to enter the wire service game. They have economies of scale to depend upon, bureaus in many locations, data networks, storage facilities, and so forth.
In a "newspaper summit" set to begin today, December 1st, and continuing for 2 1/2 days, it's an all expenses paid trip to Atlanta for those with an invite, and CNN will be pitching newspapers on its' cheaper service. Cheaper, that is, than the AP (who is losing member papers), Reuters (which CNN dumped last year, saving $3.5 million), and AFP and Bloomberg as well.
They are staffing up their newsdesk (check this link for a few of the job listings) and hiring left and right. Staff jobs, yes.
The AP, especially in the US, stands the most to lose. Both Reuters and Agence France Presse are euro-centric wire services, with some in-roads into the U.S., but not to the depth and breadth that the Associated Press has. United Press International is all but irrelevant these days relative to them, and the service Bloomberg offers is mostly a financial one. So, the AP stands mostly alone in their risk for an across the board US-competitor, especially with the brand recognition that CNN brings to the table. Moreover, CNN images - taken from stills and standard-definition cameras, have been gracing the pages of newspapers across the country already. As CNN migrates all of their cameras to HD, the images they can pull from video will increase in quality, and this doesn't even consider the still-image assignments that will be produced by new CNN staffers with still cameras, and reporters to boot. As papers migrate even more of their content to the web, the resolution will become even less and less of an issue as well.
It's a welcome addition to the breaking-news arena, and the fact that they are "staffing up" is a good thing. Whether those staffers are both editors and photographers, or just editors, remains to be seen. Atleast on the outset, having staff photographers will be important to convince prospective subscribers that CNN is serious about original content. Like a restaurant that opens and offers free valet parking, it shows a commitment to the customer. Down the line, they can charge for the valet parking, or do away with it and let people fend for their own parking spot. For now, I would expect paid staffers to begin shooting for CNN in the not to distant future.
Content Bridges - Nine Questions: How Will CNN Change the Wire Game?
Editor & Publisher - CNN Courts Newspapers With New Wire Service
New York Times - CNN Pitches a Cheaper Wire Service to Newspapers
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