* Thomson Reuters launches U.S. domestic news service
* Service is part of "multimillion" dollar investment
* Signs Tribune Co as first Reuters America client
By Jennifer Saba
NEW YORK, Dec 13 Thomson Reuters Corp (TRI.TO)
(TRI.N) has launched a news service for U.S. publishers and
broadcasters in a bid to win business from the Associated Press
The new service, Reuters America, provides text stories,
photos and video by Reuters journalists for newspapers,
television stations and online publishers. Newspaper publisher
and broadcaster Tribune Co TRBCQ.PK is its first customer.
As part of the service, Reuters America also will offer
sports and entertainment news from six partners: the Wrap,
SportsDirect Inc, the Sports Xchange, US Presswire, SB Nation
The service comes as newspapers and TV stations try to
recover from the worst financial recession in recent memory.
Tribune Co, which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles
Times and TV stations in New Orleans, San Diego and Denver, has
signed a multi-year deal. Terms were not disclosed.
Reuters is hiring journalists and using outside
journalists, or "stringers," to provide general news stories in
addition to its business and financial news. It also will write
stories commissioned by its news clients.
"This is being designed and being run in a way that is not
one size fits all," said Chris Ahearn, Thomson Reuters'
president of media. "It gives (publishers) comfort and
flexibility that there are other choices than... some of the
Thomson Reuters, which provides financial and professional
data and owns the Reuters news agency, is making a
"multimillion dollar" investment in technology and editorial
resources, Ahearn said.
It wants to offer an alternative to entrenched services
such as the AP, a cooperative owned mainly by U.S. newspaper
members that pay fees to the news service.
Newspaper publishers, including the bankrupt Tribune Co,
have been dealing with plunging advertising revenue, falling
print sales and heavy debt from acquisition sprees over the
last 20 years. Many publishers have cut costs by stripping away
sections, laying off workers and outsourcing print delivery.
"The heat is by no means off on newspapers to find new ways
to reduce expenses," said Rick Edmonds, a researcher and writer
on business and journalism for the Poynter Institute.
About two years ago, metropolitan daily newspapers such as
the Plain Dealer in Cleveland and the Boston Globe, owned by
the New York Times Co (NYT.N), urged the AP to lower its fees.
Some members threatened to leave the organization.
Eyeing a potential new market, Time Warner's (TWX.N) CNN in
2009 launched CNN Wire, a wire service for newspaper publishers
looking for cheaper alternatives.
Tribune threatened to leave the AP, and had given formal
notice that it was considering dropping its membership.
The AP, which counts about 1,400 U.S. newspapers as
members, has restructured its pricing since then.
Gerould Kern, senior vice president and editor of the
Chicago Tribune, said Tribune Co is using Reuters to augment
its news coverage.
"This isn't an anti-AP move," he said. "We are going to
take on Reuters America as a partner and remain an AP member,
but buy less from it."
Tribune remains a valued customer of the AP, said spokesman
(Reporting by Jennifer Saba. Editing by Kenneth Li and Robert