A leaked Associated Press memo offers a refreshingly candid assessment of how the 165-year-old wire service continues to struggle in navigating the increasingly tech-driven, real-time media landscape of the 21st-century. Having obtained a copy of the company-wide memo sent out by senior managing editor Michael Oreskes on Tuesday with the catchy title, "The New Distinctiveness," The Huffington Post's Michael Calderone writes:
In the memo, Oreskes wrote that the "AP wins when news breaks, but after an hour or two we're often replaced by a piece of content from someone else who has executed something more thoughtful or more innovative." … "We're really best in the business at being the fastest and most accurate on breaking news," Oreskes said in an interview with The Huffington Post. "But what we've seen, and it's more and more true every day, is to remain dominant on these big stories, you have to move very quickly into the stories that used to be reserved for the second day or the weekend -- the different take, the look behind-the-scenes, the why behind what's happening."
What's a little bit embarrassing about Calderone's report on the memo is that The Huffington Post is exactly the type of competing news outlet that Oreskes is referencing. That said, this is the same AP that scolded its reporters for tweeting a month ago, so its editors are probably used to fielding criticism about how they're keeping up with more realtime news organizations like Reuters and Bloomberg. It's good to see they're finally doing something about it.
Note: Those are the old AP terminals to the right in the image of NBC Radio's breaking news studio, taken just a few days after Pearl Harbor in December 1941.