Gannett, McClatchy Cancel Associated Press News Contracts

In news rocking the publishing world, two of the largest newspaper chains in the U.S. have drastically downsized their contracts with the Associated Press, eliminating AP journalism from their combined 230 news outlets, including Gannett’s USA Today and McClatchy’s The Miami Herald. Though neither chain disclosed how much the move will save, the AP assesses “it is likely to be in the millions of dollars” for each. Gannett announced it has chosen another newswire partner, Reuters, and says it will continue to subscribe to the AP Stylebook and election results data. AP says its Gannett contract runs through the end of 2024.

AP writes that Gannett’s timing for the severance announcement is a possible “negotiating tactic for AP to lower its fees.” The financial troubles of the two chains — and newspaper publishing overall — are well known.

Gannett posted a net loss of $22.9 million in Q4 2023 after net income of $32.8 million in Q4 2022. Hedge fund Chatham Asset Management purchased McClatchy out of bankruptcy in 2020.

“With this decision, we will no longer pay millions for content that serves less than 1 percent of our readers,” McClatchy SVP of News and Audience Kathy Vetter wrote in an email obtained by The New York Times, adding that “in most cases we have found replacements. However, we are still working on a universal solution for state ‘wires’ content.”

The AP was established in 1846 and now has reporters “in all 50 states and nearly 100 countries,” providing news through text, still photography, audio and video “for news organizations that can’t afford such reportorial reach on their own,” according to In all, the company says AP’s journalism “is seen by over half the world’s population every day.”

An AP spokeswoman told NYT that contract discussions with Gannett and McClatchy “have been productive and are ongoing.” While she said the cancellations will not have “material impact” on AP’s revenue, which now includes ancillaries, it can’t be seen as good news, particularly if it becomes a trend driven by artificial intelligence for newsgathering and rewrites.

Gannett had an AI debacle last year. In June 2023 Reuters reported that Gannett would be using “generative artificial intelligence in the system it uses to publish stories” to possiblly reduce costs and “improve efficiency.”

In August CNN wrote that the chain would “pause” its AI experiment “after botched high school sports articles.” It’s now had seven months to fine tune its modeling.

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