The AP, even with its recession-inspired cutbacks, is a great news service—but a pricey one, by newspaper standards. So Thomson Reuters is starting a competing U.S. news service. Like AP, but crappier cheaper.

The AP is a significant expense for newspapers, but it's not as significant as having your own national news desk. And since all but a handful of U.S. newspapers have been reduced to using the wire services for their national coverage, it's worth it. The AP has real live human reporters, employed by the AP, on the ground in every state. And that's an expense that Thomson Reuters plans to cut back on, in order to undersell them. The WSJ reports:

Thomson Reuters' new offering, dubbed Reuters America, will focus on state and regional news and incorporate material from a variety of other sources, including The for entertainment news, SportsDirect Inc. and others for sports, and for local coverage.

So instead of paying all the money to have its own exclusive correspondents on the ground, Thomson Reuters can pay much less to license content from the standards-less content mill—the world's largest "news" organization, LOL! Plane Crashes in Dubuque; Local Chinese Restaurants Unaffected, Reports Dubuque Chinese Restaurant Examiner Armond Potash.

The first subscriber is Tribune. This will perfectly complement their "TV news without anchors or reporters" journalistic paradigm shift.

The new Reuters service will be a mix of their own reporters, stringers, and this licensed content from partner sites. But it's not hard to see what the next evolution of newswires could be: 100% prepackaged recycled stories from microlocal sites like or Associated Content which pay pennies to contributors, sold to subscribers at a moderate markup. Newspapers can hire one rewrite man to give this crappy copy a brush-up, and voila: a one-man national desk. (That sucks.)

[Photo: Shutterstock]