NEW YORK, NY – In order to expedite reporting in the internet age, the Associated Press has approved and released templates to be used for reoccurring stories.
“In this 24-hour new cycle today there really isn’t time to write a story from scratch so what we’ve tried to do is just come up with templates for writers to use,” said Associated Press President Henrietta Freunde. “People expect immediate news and immediate reaction. With these tempaltes all our writers need to do is just fill in a couple blanks and the story is ready to print. Or blog. Or whatever the kids do these days.”
The first four templates were released last week and include templates for stories about a mass shooting, a teen star in trouble, Republicans move to defund social service, and a returning soldier surprises family member.
“What we did was look at the stories that come up over and over again and that writers have to write and rewrite on a weekly, or even daily basis,” said Freunde. “For example, the mass shooting story. There is a mass shooting story at least once a month. So we took that story idea, created the template and now all the writer has to do is fill in where it happened, circle AR-15 Assault Rifle or Other, fill in how many where killed and the name of a witness who said ‘you never expect something like this to happen here.’ That’s it. It now takes one minute to write that story and get it to press.”
For each template the writer will simply fill in four to five blanks to complete the article. The template for teen star in trouble looks like this:
“During a performance at the (_award show name___) the former teen star (___teen star name) shocked audiences by (circle one:) simulating sex with dance move/kissing a same sex co-performer/using naughty language/making obscene gesture.”
News writers across the country have already adopted the new templates. The template for Republicans move to defund social service has been used over 12,000 times since its release.
“It’s just a really smart way to do business,” said AP contributor Martin McCoy. “I can’t tell you how many times in the past few months I’ve had to file a story about pretty much the same thing. To think, I was re-writing it every time. Now, all I have to do is fill in the name of the Senator or Congressman, circle what their trying to defund and I’m done. Now I can get done with my work and back to the wonderful world of internet porn that much faster. I tell you, it’s a great thing.”
The template idea isn’t altogether new for the news industry with some news agencies using the template idea for several years.
“CNN and FOX use almost nothing but templates,” said AP writer Nancy Treorr. “In fact, those two networks don’t report a story unless they have a template for it. But that’s all been kinda hush-hush. The AP templates are the first acknowledgement of the use of templates in news writing.”
By the end of the month the AP hopes to have 10 to 15 additional templates available for use.
“A couple of the templates we are working on now and hope to have done soon are for stories about natural disasters destroying a community, the Chicago Cubs having another disappointing season, Hollywood couple splits, and a handful of others,” said Freunde. By the end of the year we hope to have 100 templates available.”