Friday, September 16, 2005

AP's ASAP Gears Up for Born-On-The-Web Content Consumers

Telling a story used to be squarely in the hands of wordsmiths and newscasters. But as noted in Shore's definition of content (found now on Wikipedia - "Information and experiences created by individuals, institutions and technology to benefit audiences in venues that they value") a new generation of content users have become used to stories that are told as interactive experiences. Where does this lead an aging market for print-oriented wire services? Squarely in the thick of things, with AP's introduction of its new ASAP news feed aimed at younger audiences. Beyond the richness of multimedia that you would expect in such a service ASAP also takes on a new attitude towards news development that includes input from a new staff of 20 journalists. According to The New York Times the service includes more "in the raw" personal content such as personal essays and audio clips - still in an objective vein but definitely stretching the concept of traditional news reporting beyond the usual rip-and-read genre. It's stronger stuff for online presences of major papers, scuffing the line somewhat between the domain of webloggers and the world of mainstream media - and not a moment too soon. As more and more content consumers are discovering the ability to find the news is much more about the "who, what, when, where and why" of a matter and much more about reporting on the multi-dimensional environment in which news is coming to life. Like a video game player hitting the pause button to admire the on-screen artistry of the scenery, the ability to explore the environment in which content is generated is becoming as important as the traditional core product. Kudos to AP for "getting" this in a big way in what promises to be a prototype for many future news gathering efforts.
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