People displaced the AP. The world’s smartphone bearing citizens capture and distribute news in real time.
The first image to emerge from the London train bombing came from someone trapped inside the train. That’s access the AP can’t plan for.
But the AP still plays a critical and credible role in journalism today. Before publishing a photograph taken by the AP or someone else the AP goes through a series of checks and balances first to insure that the image is unadulterated (in other words, non-photoshopped or Instagrammed). Then it must verify that the image was taken at the event.
AP pictures must always tell the truth. We do not alter or digitally manipu- late the content of a photograph in any way. … No element should be digitally added or subtracted from any photograph. The faces or identities of individuals must not be obscured by Photoshop or any other editing tool. Minor adjustments in Photoshop are acceptable. These include cropping, dodging and burning, conversion into grayscale, and normal toning and color adjustments that should be limited to those minimally necessary for clear and accurate reproduction.
So when the London train bombings occurred the user-generated image licensed by AP had to be gleaned to insure there wasn’t any augmentation.
The AP may have lost its exclusivity and access to world breaking events but now it can leverage people living in the events in real-time. Imagery and location will always have to be raw and verified.