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AP to distribute content from nonprofit journalism organizations


The Associated Press is launching a pilot project to distribute watchdog and investigative journalism from nonprofit organizations to its 1,500 member newspapers, it was announced today at the 2009 Investigative Reporters and Editors Conference in Baltimore.

Starting July 1, the six-month project will put content from four leading nonprofit journalism organizations within reach of editors at nearly every U.S. daily.

The organizations are the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Center for Public Integrity, the Investigative Reporting Workshop and ProPublica.

The goal of the project is to provide the nonprofit journalism organizations an additional distribution channel for their work while making it easy for newspapers to find and use the content they produce.

The journalism organizations will receive a wider distribution of their content. It will be provided via the AP’s Web-based delivery system, AP Exchange, at no cost to the newspapers or to the contributing organizations.

“We’re seeing exciting growth in foundation-supported and other nonprofit journalism organizations that are producing public service journalism, which is at the heart of AP’s news values,” said Sue Cross, senior vice president, Global New Media & U.S. Media Markets. “As a news cooperative that enables its members to share content and provides them with a variety of choices, we want to foster an exchange that helps them easily access this journalism.”

The content will be displayed in a dedicated section of AP Exchange, a searchable interface used by newspapers to receive content from AP and syndicates, and to exchange content directly with one another. Exchange users will have the option of routinely displaying the nonprofit journalism in their news searches. If the project is extended, other nonprofit journalism organizations may also be included.

Comprehensive numbers are elusive, but it is clear that increasingly foundations are funding news. Of the 115 news ventures that received funding in the past four years cited by J-Lab at American University in its recent report, 102 -- 87 percent -- launched since 2005. Overall, of the nearly $128 million in grants for news projects tracked by J-Lab, nearly $65 million went to support investigative initiatives. More than half that amount funded investigative initiatives launched since the start of 2005, representing funding to six new national or regional investigative reporting projects.

“Our principal aim at ProPublica is for our investigative stories about abuse of power and betrayal of the public trust to have impact and that comes from reaching the best possible audience,” said Paul Steiger, Editor-in-Chief of ProPublica. “AP Exchange should contribute meaningfully to this objective, by making it easier for AP members to publish ProPublica articles across the country. We’re honored to have been asked to participate in AP Exchange, and delighted to be doing so.”

“The Center for Public Integrity believes in holding institutional power accountable, and in the widest possible dissemination of our in-depth investigative work,” said Bill Buzenberg, Executive Director of the Center for Public Integrity. “The new AP platform via AP members has the potential to give citizens greater access to this watchdog reporting that our democracy needs to function properly. I am extremely pleased that the Center will be part of this pilot program.”

“Amidst all of the troubling news about the state of journalism, the exciting news is the historically unprecedented, emerging new ecosystem of investigative reporting centers throughout the nation,” said Charles Lewis, executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University. “It is brilliant, and a public service, for the Associated Press to provide this important, high quality content to its clients and the public.”

“This pathbreaking agreement will make an enormous difference in helping us reach the largest possible audience and maximizing the impact of our work,” said Robert Rosenthal, Executive Director of the Center for Investigative Reporting in Berkeley, Calif., the nation’s oldest nonprofit investigative reporting organization. “We are deeply appreciative of AP’s commitment to public interest journalism.”


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