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The Associated Press and CNN
When AP and CNN could not reach agreement on licensing AP content, it meant CNN would no longer have access to the breaking news and worldwide reporting resources of the Associated Press. "We will no longer use AP materials or services," CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton told employees in an internal memo in June. "The content we offer will be distinctive, compelling and, I am proud to say, our own." In fact, however, CNN continues to rely heavily, and apparently systematically, on AP breaking news, exclusive enterprise and in-depth reporting. CNN often cites AP, in its online stories and on its cable channels, trading on AP's valuable and respected brand and also free riding on resource intensive reporting done at AP expense. In the absence of AP, CNN is often late with breaking news stories, forced to rely on press releases and secondary sources, behind and sometimes even incorrect on critical facts and updates. CNN, which is owned by Time Warner, is primarily a consumer broadcast channel, but it has stated it intends to expand its efforts at a text wire. In a pitch letter for the CNN wire service in Texas, sales staff claim CNN is "AP Free on ALL platforms." In the letter, they also admit "we will never have full-time reporters or writers in Amarillo, Austin or Laredo and that they do not aggregate sports content." (A copy of the letter is included in this package.) AP is a not for profit organization founded 164 years ago as a text service, and is now a multimedia news organization with text, video and still photography journalists in all 52 states. Broadly, here is what CNN is doing in the absence of AP. Trading on the AP brand by systematically citing AP in breaking news and other stories. The Associated Press brand has wide and deep market recognition, and its reputation for accuracy and integrity provides its customers with enhanced credibility and brand value. Taking advantage of reporting done at AP's expense. Often this involves reporting the single most important part of an AP story, after AP has expended significant resources and efforts to investigate and report the findings. Being forced to play catch-up without AP. CNN is now often far behind AP in breaking news and other stories as they try to match us. The stories they must follow may be out of date by the time they are filed, badly sourced, incomplete, without important detail and sometimes just plain incorrect. In some cases, CNN has had to rely on press releases for stories AP breaks. Attached you will find a head-to-head comparison of AP and CNN resources. Also attached are specific case examples of how CNN is using AP at the same time that it is doing without AP. We will update them weekly.