about  /   archives  /   contact  /   subscribe  /   twitter    
Share this entry
Make this entry better

What are we missing? Is there a key link we skipped, or a part of the story we got wrong?

Let us know — we’re counting on you to help Encyclo get better.

Put Encyclo on your site
Embed this Encyclo entry in your blog or webpage by copying this code into your HTML:

Key links:
Primary website:
ap.org
Primary Twitter:
@ap

The Associated Press, or AP, is an American nonprofit news cooperative owned by 1,500 U.S. newspaper members.

Founded in 1846, the AP is one of the largest newsgathering organizations in the world, with about 2,400 journalists. Its primary news operation is its wire service, though it also operates a radio network as well. It has won 49 Pulitzer Prizes, including 30 for its photography.

Content on the AP’s national and international wires is overwhelmingly supplied by AP staffers, while the state wire stories are produced by the AP and its members. With more than 200 news bureaus, it is among the American media’s leading producers of international news.

The AP’s profits and revenue have fallen sharply in recent years, and it nearly lost money in 2009. About a quarter of the AP’s revenue comes from domestic newspapers, about 17 percent from online customers, and slightly less from U.S. broadcasters. Other revenue sources include international clients and photography.

Copyright and online aggregation

Since the late 1990s, the AP has allowed its news to be posted on Yahoo, and after a brief hiatus in late 2009 and early 2010, its stories are posted on Google News as well. Those licensing agreements have been a driving factor in the AP’s increase in revenue over the past decade. The AP has also floated the idea of offering news slightly earlier to some aggregators for a fee.

Though AP executives have talked in the past about the need to allow content to flow freely online, they have often spoken out against aggregators and other online news sources for misappropriating its content, suing organizations that reproduce their material without permission.

It proposed, but ultimately decided against, charging its members to post content online in 2005, and in 2008, it attempted to impose guidelines on how much of its stories bloggers could quote. In early 2009, it announced it would more closely track its own online content as well as that of its members against copyright violation, creating an AP News Registry that went live in summer 2010. The AP is also a minority shareholder in NewsRight, which helps news organizations license their content to aggregators.

In 2012, it sued Meltwater News Service, a news-clipping service that, according to the AP, charged for access to a database of AP news articles for which it had not paid license fees.

In its negotiations with aggregators, it has emphasized its desire for them to prioritize the creator of news over those who repeat it elsewhere.

Its vocal stance on that issue has drawn fire from critics, who have called it anti-Internet or argued that it is unnecessary in the age of the web. Others have countered that the AP is going after those who steal its content, not simply link to or quote from it.

A group of newspaper executives expressed concerns about the AP in 2008, criticizing it for being too expensive and neglecting the basic news coverage for which it’s relied on. In 2009, the AP scrapped its plan to reorganize its member rates, leading about 50 of the 180 news organizations that had intended to cancel their memberships to reconsider.

In recent years several news organizations have developed content-sharing partnerships apart from the AP. CNN has created its own competing wire service and has experimented with going without AP content on its own site, using its own wires for breaking news.

WDCPIX is a political photo wire intended to compete with the AP, and in May 2010, the news sharing site Publish2 announced its plans to “Craigslist the AP” through a new free, open news exchange. In their announcement of the exchange, Publish2 executives described the AP as inefficient, expensive and slow. The AP allows content-sharing arrangements and searchable content databases through its Member Marketplace service.

The AP was the first large organization to implement Mozilla’s Do-Not-Track feature.

Multimedia, mobile and social media

The AP has expanded its use of multimedia and social media in recent years in order to increase the social engagement and mobile accessibility of its news. It launched a video news service in 2006, and more recently it has developed a mobile division called AP Gateway, and developed a for-pay service for the iPad. It also plans to negotiate mobile content deals for its entire membership.

It also launched a social media hub called the AP Nerve Center and has experimented with crowdsourcing news coverage via Twitter. It created a social media and user-generated content editor position in 2012. However, in a 2011 update to its social media guidelines, it advised its journalists not to retweet opinions without clearly labeling them as such, and it has also instructed its journalists not to tweet breaking news before the AP sends it out on the wire and assured its members it won’t scoop the wire with social media.

The AP has outlined plans to create landing pages to compete with Wikipedia in aggregating information about breaking news, as well as plans to keep some of its unique content in one place on the web, rather than allowing its members to distribute it online.

In summer 2009, the AP launched a project to distribute stories by nonprofit news outlets. In 2011 they retooled and expanded the project with partnerships from ProPublica, the Center for Public Integrity and The Investigative Reporting Workshop.

The AP advised its journalists to limit daily bylined stories to a maximum of 500 words in 2014.

Peers, allies, & competitors:
Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
Oct. 20, 2014 / Justin Ellis
Ebola Deeply builds on the lessons of single-subject news sites: A news operation with an expiration date — A contagious disease outbreak seems like a good time for some explanatory journalism. News outlets are scrambling to cover the latest developments in the Ebola outbreak with reporting that can provide background on the s...
Sept. 17, 2014 / Joseph Lichterman
iOS 8: How 5 news orgs have updated their apps for Apple’s new operating system — As iPhone users frantically delete apps and photos from their phones to make space for the iOS 8 update, many news organizations are also taking advantage of Apple’s new mobile operating system to release new or up...
May 29, 2014 / Joseph Lichterman
Who’s behind that tweet? Here’s how 7 news orgs manage their Twitter and Facebook accounts — On a typical day, The Wall Street Journal publishes about 500 or 600 stories. And with correspondents spread across the globe, those stories go up around the clock. To match the frenetic pace of publishing, the Journal e...
May 8, 2014 / Ken Doctor
The newsonomics of three cracks at the mobile news puzzle — Mobile first. Two devilishly simple words that, at this point, tell us so little. By now, it’s common knowledge that most companies producing digital news are approaching — and at times surpassing — the mobile-...
March 18, 2014 / Justin Ellis
The unfaithful audience: How topics, devices, and urgency affect the way we get our news — When it comes to finding and consuming news, Americans are only as faithful as their options. A new report finds that how we consume the news is largely dependent on what we’re looking for, the technology at hand, ...

Recently around the web, from Mediagazer:

Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: May 15, 2014.
Make this entry better
How could this entry improve? What's missing, unclear, or wrong?
Name (optional)
Email (optional)
Explore: Salon
Salon logo

Salon is an online magazine focusing on political and cultural news and commentary. Salon was founded in 1995 by several former San Francisco Examiner journalists, receiving startup funding from tech companies like Apple and Adobe. It was one of the first prominent webzines, combining political commentary and news with essays and arts criticism. Salon generally…

Put Encyclo on your site
Embed this Encyclo entry in your blog or webpage by copying this code into your HTML:

Encyclo is made possible by a grant from the Knight Foundation.
The Nieman Journalism Lab is a collaborative attempt to figure out how quality journalism can survive and thrive in the Internet age.
Some rights reserved. Copyright information »