News flash: Tribune restores AP

Tribune TowerAfter getting along for two years without the global news services of the Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune and six other Tribune Publishing newspapers are back in the fold of the 169-year-old newsgathering organization.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but Matthew Hutchison, senior vice president for corporate communications of Tribune Publishing, confirmed a report Friday by Jim Romenesko that Tribune Newspapers began using the AP again as of New Year’s Day.

AP“The AP delivers premium content that our readers across all platforms expect,” Hutchison said in a statement. “We made our recent news service choice based on a number of key criteria, including: meeting our readers’ content expectations, achieving the balance of cost and value, and a desire to secure one primary news service for all Tribune Publishing business units.”

In a cost-cutting move first reported here in December 2012, seven Tribune newspapers dropped membership in the AP cooperative and opted instead to carry Reuters America, a less expensive service owned by Thomson Reuters. Along with the Chicago Tribune, papers involved were the Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Hartford Courant, Morning Call of Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Daily Press of Newport News, Virginia. The Los Angeles Times never dropped its AP membership.

As recently as last July, Chicago Tribune editor Gerry Kern defended the switch to Reuters as an acceptable substitute, telling Poynter.org that at “a price that has saved us significant amount of money,” the Tribune and others were getting “more than adequate” content from Reuters and could devote more resources to local investigations, arts and sports.