AP expands entertainment news coverage - emphasis on 'news'
West Coast Bureau Chief,
Associated Press Meet EPPS
Associated Press entertainment editors and reporters gathered in
The presentation took place at a media workshop of the International Cinematographers Guild in
"We think entertainment is important, that the coverage of it is important, and it's relevant in our society,"
The panel was moderated by Joe Schlosser, senior vice president, Communications, NBC-Universal Television Studio Distribution.
Steve Loeper, administrative news editor in AP's
"The bureau is here to back up AP’s entertainment division to tell the story right with a high amount of accuracy," said Loeper.
(L-R) Dave Germain, Mike Cidoni,
Jesse Washington and Steve Loepel
"We have become a digital organization," he said. "All formats are represented and we deliver the world in video, text, multimedia, photos, your name it."
Speaking to the PR pros attending the media workshop, Ferrara emphasized that AP wants to distinguish its entertainment coverage from other, similar, content by reporting entertainment news on the record – a sometimes challenging notion in a field in which publicists for stars and studios have become accustomed to planting stories on background.
"The staff is going to be hounding you and you hound them, give it to us on the record, it really makes life a lot easier,"
In a recent high-profile example of the potential pitfalls for off-the-record attribution, a TV tabloid show reported that Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie had given birth to twins – a report that turned out to be false.
The AP's Dan Becker told PR pros the news service's intention is to deliver a high quality, reliable and objective entertainment report.
"Our reports are always going to be accurate, balanced and informed," said Becker. "That’s the core of what AP’s banner will always be and bringing that to entertainment.”
Becker said one billion people see AP content on any given day, visiting some of the largest online portals, including Yahoo! and MSN.
"We have 243 bureaus based in 97 countries," Becker said.
The largest and oldest news organization in the world began hiring new entertainment division employees in January. Becker said the AP, as of June, had 70 editorial employees dedicated to entertainment coverage.
The presentation included practical advice on pitching story ideas.
“First and foremost, we want you to think of AP when breaking news,” said Becker. “We want you to pitch us, we want high profile news, we want to break it and we want to be exclusive. We don’t just want to break news and be exclusive in a text world. We want exclusive photography, exclusive video, and exclusive opportunities for sit down interviews. We are in a multimedia world."
Becker said the "most effective way for AP to tell the story" is through a combination of text, photo and video.
"So no longer will you be dealing with just a text person, photo person or video person. And no longer with a text person who just understands text, or a photo person photo or video person video. We are going to work with you to tell the story across all platforms."
Becker stressed that the quality of AP's coverage would depend largely on access to newsmakers.
"At so many events the story is happening inside, and so many times news agencies are held outside of the event," he said. "It is only part of the story. We need to be inside."
AP personnel advised PR pros to be sure to provide reliably accurate information when dealing with the news service and said e-mail is the preferred method for sending pitches for most writers and editors – with plenty of lead time for event coverage planning. Publicists need not call AP to see if a routine e-mail or fax has been received.
Last-minute pitches are generally more difficult to consider, and publicists can improve efficiency by using AP Entertainment's contact sheet. (Multiple pitching to various AP writers is acceptable, but if AP passes on a particular story, please do not pitch it elsewhere in the AP.)
AP wants to be first. Exclusive pitches will always get AP's attention. Best AP e-mail contacts:
- General Event Media Advisories –
- General Event Media Advisories – Int’l. INTentplan@ap.org
- Entertainment Film Coverage Film@ap.org
- Entertainment Music Coverage Music@ap.org
- Entertainment Television Coverage TV@ap.org
The AP features a massive digital photo network, a continuously updated online news service, a television news service and one of the largest radio networks in the
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