Associated Press CEO Foresees 10% Fewer Jobs At His Organization Next Year

Posted by: Jon Fine on November 20, 2008

Associated Press CEO Tom Curley just concluded a town hall meeting in New York—beamed to staffers in remote bureaus—in which he said the news cooperative’s staff will shrink by 10% next year.

He did say, according to one attendee (and I am paraphrasing here), that he hoped to achieve that primarily through attrition rather than layoffs. Still, the AP employs 4,100 staffers, including 3,000 journalists. It’s been reported that the AP has a hiring freeze on now, but, it’s a bit hard to see how 400 or so will just leave between now and the end of next year, given the job market for journalists these days.

Curley also said that the AP is opening two more ‘regional’ editing hubs, in Phoenix and Chicago (one exists in Atlanta and another is planned for Philadelphia), in an ongoing move to centralize editing—that is, to end up with fewer editors and, perhaps, more reporters in the organization.

An Associated Press spokesman just emailed me the following statement:

The Associated Press, like virtually every business in the world, is defining strategies for operating in these complex and difficult financial times. All areas and ways of doing business are being reviewed. The AP, which recently instituted a strategic hiring freeze, may need to reduce staff over the next year. If so, it hopes to achieve much of the reduction through attrition.

While we are looking for new efficiencies in the way we operate, AP’s mission as the essential global news network does not change. Plans for the rollout of regional desks in the United States, which will provide deeper, more relevant coverage for our members, will continue, with hubs being developed in Chicago and Phoenix joining those already announced in Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Reader Comments

Joel

November 24, 2008 8:10 PM

I'm a regular reader of your column and am fascinated by the impact of new media on the traditional media institutions. After reading this post, I thought I'd share a (tenuously connected) conversation I had recently with a new media professor in Germany. He told me that as the German print news world attempts to make sense of their place in the online world, one of the ideas they're batting around is tailored newspapers. The idea here is that people can customize just about anything they want online anyway from shoes to cars, why shouldn't they be able to customize their newspapers too (the huge advertising revenue hit aside) and have a perfectly customized newspaper delivered to their doors each day? Anyway, I was curious whether you've heard this type of discussion in the news circles here in the US. I guess the other question is even if some newspapers did switch to this model, is it already too late?

Don

November 25, 2008 1:18 PM

In our lifetime we will see a "Crowdsourced" AP that will replace them.

Mark

December 15, 2008 5:28 AM

On the following bit:

"it’s a bit hard to see how 400 or so will just leave between now and the end of next year, given the job market for journalists these days."

Yeah it's probably hard to see how 400 people will want to resign or retire during such times, though on the job market for journalists, if what's on Bloomberg's career web site is to be believed, they're still hiring a whole army of reporters and editors globally.

Looks like they're bucking the trend as usual.

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The media world continues to shapeshift as new forms arise and old assumptions erode. On this blog, Bloomberg Businessweek will provide sharp analysis and timely reports on the transformation of this constantly changing terrain.

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