Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Media Layoff of the Day: Associated Press Cutting 10 Percent

Media company layoffs are now the rule, not the exception, but this one is still noteworthy: The Associated Press, the workhorse of U.S. journalism, is firing 10 percent of its staff, or about 400 people. Rival newswire Reuters has details, though Gawker had first crack at it, if you’re counting.

Why is this noteworthy? Because the AP, which is actually a cooperative owned by 1,500+ member newspapers, supplies the bulk of the content that fills your daily newspaper or Web site, or whatever.

Since much of the copy the AP produces is lifted from its participating members–that’s the point of the co-op structure–the cuts don’t necessarily mean that its output is going to diminish in any way. But if it does, it poses a real problem for the same companies that are currently cutting their own staffs, since they depend on the AP to fill their holes.

Time Warner’s (TWX) Time magazine, for instance, just laid off many of its foreign bureau reporters. Right now, Time can reasonably expect wire services like the AP to pick up the slack (that image above is an AP mailbox from Belgrade). But if they don’t…

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work