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Posts Tagged ‘The Associated Press’

AP to Use Robots to Write Business Stories

This is the beginning of the end. The robots have finally been able to break through. The Associated Press has announced that it’s going to start using “automation technology” to write many of its corporate earnings reports.

Lou Ferrara, managing editor of the AP, said the technology will allow the AP to crank out short articles much more efficiently:

We discovered that automation technology, from a company called Automated Insights, paired with data from Zacks Investment Research, would allow us to automate short stories – 150 to 300 words — about the earnings of companies in roughly the same time that it took our reporters. And instead of providing 300 stories manually, we can provide up to 4,400 automatically for companies throughout the United States each quarter.

If it seems innocuous, that’s because the machines wanted it to be this way.

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AP Names Lisa Gibbs Business Editor

The Associated Press has named Lisa Gibbs its business editor. Gibbs comes to the AP from Money, where she oversaw the website’s real estate section. She had been with Money since 2009.

Gibbs, a three time Gerald Loeb Award finalist and one time-winner, previously served as the Miami Herald’s executive business editor.

“We are thrilled to have Lisa joining the AP team,” said Lou Ferrara, the AP’s managing editor for business news, in a statement. “Lisa brings passion and experience that will help AP as we continue to adjust to a changing marketplace with a voracious appetite for business news.”

Gibbs will begin her new role in August.

AP Alters MLB Article Format

APLogoThe only thing more boring than a baseball game is an article recapping that game. The Associated Press understands that, and so it has decided to change its MLB article format into an easier, faster read.

The new AP recaps will drop from 600 words to 300 words, plus a “chunky-text presentation featuring up to five bullet points that explain team storylines, key plays, injuries and a look ahead to what’s next for a team or player.”

We like this idea. Surely some of the narrative will be lost with the new look, but there will always be space for capturing the drama of one of baseball’s 17,938 games in other places.

The AP’s new article format begins July 28.

AP Makes Changes to Board

APlogoThe Associated Press has added three new members to its board of directors. Bill Hoffman, president of Cox Media; Isaac Lee, president of Univision Communications; and Rob King, senior VP of Sportscenter and News for ESPN are all new to the agency’s board.

Jon Rust, vice chair of the AP’s board, was also re-elected. It is his last year on the board.

The AP board now has 21 directors.

Morning Media Newsfeed: AP Changes Style | Frum to The Atlantic | Phone Hacker Pressured

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AP Decides That Crimea Can No Longer Be Called Part of Ukraine (HuffPost)
The Associated Press announced Wednesday that it is changing the dateline on all of its stories from Crimea now that the region is being controlled by Russia and not Ukraine. The wire service said that it would no longer identify stories written there as coming from “Ukraine.” Rather, they will carry the dateline “Crimea.” The Hill / Global Affairs “Previously, we wrote ‘SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (AP).’ But Ukraine no longer controls Crimea, and AP datelines should reflect the facts on the ground,” the news wire wrote in a guidance. Effective this week, the AP said it will now name a city and then Crimea. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media Because of a quirk of geography — the fact that Crimea doesn’t share a land border with Russia — the AP says it won’t use a “SEVASTOPOL, Russia” dateline, which would inevitably spur a heated political debate. The Guardian The AP has waded into controversy before on its quest to avoid controversy. A year ago, the AP banned “illegal immigrant” and “illegal” to describe a person, explaining that “‘illegal’ should describe only an action,” especially as the editors decided it was important not to label people, “instead of behavior.” Slate / The Slatest The latest decision also begs the question, what would the AP do if there were a shared border or if Russia were to grab more land in Ukraine, thereby connecting the regions?

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AP Names LeBron James ‘Male Athlete of The Year’

LeBron James GThe Associated Press has named LeBron James its Male Athlete of The Year. James is only the third NBA player to ever win the award, joining Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.

James definitely deserves the honor. In 2013, he won his second consecutive NBA championship and his fourth MVP award. Still, James told the AP that he saw himself as bigger than just basketball:

I’m chasing something and it’s bigger than me as a basketball player. I believe my calling is much higher than being a basketball player. I can inspire people. Youth is huge to me. If I can get kids to look at me as a role model, as a leader, a superhero … those things mean so much, and that’s what I think I was built for. I was put here for this lovely game of basketball, but I don’t think this is the biggest role that I’m going to have.

James received 31 votes to win, beating out Peyton Manning (20 votes) and Jimmie Johnson (7). Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith and Andrea Bargnani did not receive any votes.

Terry Taylor to Retire from AP After 36 Years [Update]

Terry Taylor is retiring from the Associted Press after 36 years. The AP tweeted that she will be stepping down in November.

Taylor joined the AP in 1977 and became its first female sports editor in 1992. As the AP’s sports editor, she oversaw over 100 staffers across the globe. She also helmed the AP’s Olympics coverage.

Taylor left the AP briefly, from December 1990 to September 1991, to join the New York Times as an assistant sports editor. However, she knew that it wasn’t the right fit.

“It was good for me,” Taylor told Editor & Publisher, of her stint with the paper. “I knew I didn’t belong there but belonged to the AP, the backbone of journalism. Get the news, verify it and send it out. For most of my career, that’s what I’ve done.”

Update (12:15 pm):
Below is the memo from the AP’s managing editor Lou Ferrara, announcing Taylor’s retirement.

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AP CEO Lists Five Ways to Ensure Freedom of The Press

Gary Pruitt, the Associated Press’ president and CEO, has had about enough of the government. After the Justice Department secretly obtained two months worth of phone records from AP reporters and editors, Pruitt now says that government sources are scared to talk to reporters. “The government may love this,” Pruitt added, during a speech at the National Press Club. “I suspect that they do, but beware the government that loves secrecy too much.”

In an effort to nudge the government toward a less creepy lifestyle, Pruitt also announced five measures that could ensure freedom of the press. Here’s a brief summary of his ideas: 1) The press should be able to respond to any request of information before its taken 2) There should be judicial oversight when anything is requested 3) The DOJ’s guidelines need updated 4) A federal shield law that protects journalists should be implemented and 5) A formal rule should be made of the guideline that the DOJ will not prosecute any journalist for being a journalist.

It’s a nice list. Now if only the government would heed Pruitt’s advice.

See below for Pruitt’s full statements on the measures.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Gov’t Pushes Shield Law | Bernstein Hacked | Gazette Office Closed


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Criticized on Seizure of Records, White House Pushes News Media Shield Law (NYT)
Under fire over the Justice Department’s use of a broad subpoena to obtain calling records of Associated Press reporters in connection with a leak investigation, the Obama administration sought on Wednesday to revive legislation that would provide greater protections to reporters in keeping their sources and communications confidential. Capital New York The administration opposed an initial draft of the Free Flow of Information Act, but eventually supported a compromise version that would allow federal judges to protect reporters from subpoenas for information, if the judge determined that the news value of the reports exceeded the government’s interest in uncovering the sources of a leak. HuffPost / The Backstory New York Times reporter Charlie Savage asked Attorney General Eric Holder, who had just announced he’d recused himself from the AP leak investigation, “Are you also recused from the Stuxnet investigation out of Maryland?” The New York Times has reason to be concerned about whether investigators are using similar tactics on them. The Maryland case is believed to be focused on Times chief Washington correspondent David Sanger’s reporting on how the U.S. and Israel helped derail Iran’s nuclear program through cyberattacks. Sanger’s June scoop, along with the Times’ front-page article on Obama’s terrorist “kill list,” spurred Congressional calls to investigate the leaks of classified information. The Washington Post / Erik Wemple Media Matters for America, a group that monitors the country’s conservative media for distortions and inaccuracies, fell in for criticism Wednesday over the Justice Department’s secret subpoena of the Associated Press’s phone records. Evidence of this Media Matters-Obama administration mindmeld? This piece here, which says: “If the press compromised active counter-terror operations for a story that only tipped off the terrorists, that sounds like it should be investigated.” The Daily Beast / Politics Beast David Brock explained all in a statement. “Media Matters for America monitors, analyzes, and corrects conservative misinformation in the media and was not involved with the production of the document focusing on the DOJs investigation,” he said. “That document was issued by ‘Message Matters,’ a project of the Media Matters Action Network, which posts, through a different editorial process and to a different website, a wide range of potential messaging products for progressive talkers to win public debates with conservatives.”

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Justice Department Secretly Obtains AP Phone Records

This is sort of insane: The United States Justice Department has secretly obtained two months worth of phone records from Associated Press reporters and editors. The records contained incoming and outgoing calls and the duration of calls made via 20 different lines assigned to AP offices, and journalists’ home and cell phones. That’s a scarily large swath.

In a letter to the AP, the DOJ apparently offered no explanation for the seizure. The AP’s CEO and president, Gary Pruitt, responded with his own letter, protesting the DOJ’s actions:

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