Al Gore must’ve gotten to the Associated Press and introduced to them his invention, the Internet, because they have announced a refit for the new news age. The New York Times spins some coverage for the venerable news wire service’s newest venture, even taking the chance to extend a compliment for AP’s creation of the “24-hour news cycle” (I know, that one made my head turn, too). So, at last the AP has decided the world has changed… took ’em long enough.

First off, let’s dispense with the Times’ claims that the AP invented the “24-hour news cycle.”

After a decade of watching newspapers and rival wire services shrink, The Associated Press, the 161-year-old news cooperative, is refitting itself to handle the 24-hour news cycle it helped create.

Gosh, the rest of the world pins that “creation” on the cable news networks, not the AP. In fact, the 24-hour news cycle came into being long before that when the telegraph was first introduced in the USA by Samuel Morse. Still, if the AP had been at the forefront of creating that new cycle for news, how is it that they are so far behind now? If, according to the NYT, this raving compliment were right, it would have seemed the AP would have been at the front of the wave. So why the late-timed refit? Perhaps the NYT indulged in a bit of undeserved praise, eh?

Do ya think!?

One of the AP’s VPs went on to try and explain their aims.

“You have to adjust to the marketplace,” said Jim Kennedy, The A.P.’s vice president for strategic planning. “The new generation of consumers has completely different habits.”

Here’s a little hint on something that might help, AP. I offer it free of charge…

TRY TELLING THE TRUTH FOR A CHANGE! I’d reckon that might help you serve that “new generation of consumers” you’re on about.

So, what’re the plans?

To feed those habits and manage the news cycle more efficiently, The A.P. will change the way it files, edits and distributes stories, opening at least four regional editing hubs as part of a plan it calls AP2.0.

It is also expanding its multimedia packages for entertainment, business and sports reports. And the company is moving toward an all-digital platform it calls the “Digital Cooperative.”

Kathleen Carroll, The A.P.’s executive editor, said the company’s responsibility was to “preserve our future, so that we can continue to provide news from remote places,” and to “rev up our journalism” to make it compelling to customers.

The idea behind the regional hubs, which mimic an overhaul of The A.P.’s foreign operations earlier in the decade, is to reduce editing gridlock at its major filing desks, including that in New York. The regional hubs will handle coverage in their areas, and the New York desk will focus on “the stories that are the tip top of the day,” Ms. Carroll said.

But here is something funny. The AP claims to be an honest and open news source, beyond the need to hide anything, we all assume. But, despite this self-assessment, the AP isn’t telling its own employees anything about how it will affect them!

But Mr. Winton wondered what would happen to an editor whose regular position was moved to one of the regional hubs. “I think most of our members understand The A.P. has to stay competitive. We get that,” he said. “But this sort of cone of silence we’re under isn’t helping.”

So, where’s the honest and open part? The employees sure ain’t feelin’ the love!

But, I won’t fault the AP for this, really. Business IS business, after all. It’s just amusing to me that, in the end, even leftists are confronted with the harsh realities of the real world at some level or another.

In any case, we welcome the AP into the real world of business and the new world and the speed of the Internet — though apparently they have the 24-hour part covered already. My guess is, now they will be able to cover up for the Democrat Party at lightening speed and with all the connectivity and fancy graphics available on the World Wide Web after “AP 2.0” is implemented.

It’s the Democrat Party’s dream come true, and just ahead of the 2008 elections, too.

How wonderfully convenient.

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