How to survive over the centuries, media division

Over the course of many years as a bureau chief with The Associated Press, I stamped the AP logo on a wide range of coffee mugs, fanny packs, water bottles, golf balls and other trinkets for the staff and newspaper editors. I’m a sucker for advertising specialty products, and I was always on the lookout for something new.

It’s not unexpected that the first chance I got, while running AP operations in Nebraska, I ordered baseball caps. In Seattle, I ordered caps in day-glo green. The cap pictured here is the last remaining from my AP collection, and it features the company’s 150th anniversary logo. (The cap is sitting atop the shell of an old teletype machine that delivered the AP sport wire to the Racine Journal-Times in Wisconsin.)

Corporate headquarters ordered hundreds of these caps in 1998, when it commemorated its founding a century and a half earlier in New York City. A few years ago, some old papers turned up that proved the news cooperative actually got its start in 1846 — two years earlier than had been believed for many decades.

No matter. AP is one of the few companies that can say it has thrived in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.  But as with all meda companies, to survive it must change and adapt to shifting consumer demands, delivery technology and interpretations of the law. There’s a fascinating post today on TechCrunch.com about how AP is suing another news service for allegedly misappropriating AP news. (Thanks to 10,000 Words for the link via twitter.)  The suit refers to the “hot news” concept that AP cited when it successfully challenged Hearst’s International News Service in a similar case many years ago. Tech Crunch is skeptical about AP being able to win with the same argument today. I’ll be curious to learn the outcome.

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