Why Smartnews, why now?

In Freelance, Publishing, smartnews, The news biz, Unfettered stupidity on March 13, 2009 at 5:01 pm

AP’s feelin’ the hate.

And then we were talking about the high cost of the Associated Press and we were all upset. The Blade, for an example, which is a medium-sized paper, was paying $550,000 a year for the Associated Press. And the Associated Press was forcing us to buy new services that we didn’t need or didn’t use, becouse everything was in the package.

Medium-size paper drops half a mill a year on wire, folks. That’s a lotta moolah if you multiply it by the number of medium-size papers in the United States. Big, fat ocean of market out there.

… we wrote a letter to Tom Curley, who’s the chief executive for the Associated Press, and said that “You’re too expensive, your structure is wrong. The newspaper industry created you, you have an obligation to help us through this crisis now, and instead you continously raise our rates and charge us for pictures — if we call the AP and want a photograph of Ronald Reagan in Cleveland in the 1980s, they would charge us fees for that to get it out of their archive. And there were many other complaints we had.

Would you treat a cllient that way? This is why we’re doing Smartnews. Publishers need better options. Writers, photographers, artists need a better deal.

  1. NYT graphic on troubled newspapers Think they could use a more efficient content model?

  2. […] The way Randy and I figured it back when we were brainstorming, Smartnews needs numbers to work. Lots of people selling to lots of publications. That’s true as a business proposition for us, as well as for freelancers and publishers. You need lots and lots of potential customers in order to move inventory, because not every buyer’s going to be in the market for what you have. Publishers need lots of quality inventory to choose from to feel like it’s worth their $120. Or $1,200. Or $550,000. […]

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