AFA and AP: Shamey, shamey



Air Force Academy

The Air Force Academy recently got its wrist slapped for using Associated Press wire copy without permission in its base newspaper, the Academy Spirit.

(Isn't that stealing?)

The newspaper used at least five AP sports stories that the Spirit lifted from the academy's athletics website, which, unlike the base newspaper, does have an arrangement with AP for use of its material.

The articles appeared from Dec. 10, 2010, to Feb. 17, 2012.

There apparently wasn't any legal action taken by AP, because Jim Clarke, AP bureau chief in Denver, tells us, "The situation has been addressed to the AP's satisfaction." He then referred us to the Spirit staff.

Lt. Col. John Bryan, the academy's director of public affairs who oversees the newspaper, admitted to improperly using the AP stories.

"We pulled the stories off the athletic site, thinking those are ours to use," he says.

Apparently, he's not familiar with Department of Defense Instruction 5120.4, which bars the use of commercial wire services by the military:

4.7. DoD publications normally shall not be authorized the use of commercial
news and opinion sources, such as Associated Press, United Press International, New
York Times, etc., except as stated below in this subsection and the following
subsection. The use of such sources is beyond the scope of the mission of command
or installation publications and puts them in direct competition with commercial
publications. The use of such sources may be authorized for a specific DoD
newspaper by the cognizant DoD Component only when other sources of national and
international news and opinion are not available.

The exception is "Overseas Combatant Command newspapers published outside the United
States...," according to the instruction.

Bryan called the usage "an honest mistake" and accused the Independent of "digging in our garbage cans for batteries that weren't properly disposed of," adding, "C'mon. Really?"

No word on whether any punishment was meted out by the academy's leadership over the issue.

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