AP, GNI to build tool to help local newsrooms collaborate

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The Associated Press is launching a pilot project aimed at increasing local news coverage and improving the way member news organizations collaborate with one another.

With support from the Google News Initiative, AP will build an online tool that enables members to share their coverage plans to more efficiently cover local news.

It will also allow participating news organizations to share their journalism, increasing the amount of local news stories in their communities.

"AP is committed to helping our members deliver great local journalism in every way that we can," said AP Deputy Managing Editor for U.S. News Noreen Gillespie. "This kind of collaboration is core to the AP – it's why we were founded more than 170 years ago. Empowering our members to share coverage plans allows them to be more efficient in covering local news stories at a critical time when newsrooms have to make smart decisions about where to put their resources."

"A key tenet of the Google News Initiative is to work together with publishers like the AP to foster a healthy and diverse news ecosystem," said Google Director of U.S. News and Publishing Partnerships Nathalie Sajous. "We couldn't be more excited to work with the AP to build and pilot a scalable approach to managing news collaboratives that enable local news publishers to deliver more critical news content to their readers."

The pilot project, called the Local News Sharing Network, will take place in New York state over the next year. News sharing is expected to begin in early 2020.

Nearly two dozen members plan to participate, including The Daily Freeman, The Observer Dispatch, The Times Union, WFUV, WRNN and the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

New York was selected because of its rich history of journalism, AP memberships, broad geography and news volume.

"With newsroom staffs already stretched thin, it's critically important for outlets to work together to keep communities abreast of critical issues and goings-on," said WFUV News Director George Bodarky. "This effort is a great first step to foster collaboration among news outlets to ensure residents of New York state have the information they need to make informed decisions."

Peter Crowley, managing editor of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, added: "Up in northern New York, we and other daily newspapers made a deal in 2014 to share stories and photos of our congressional race, and then of our new congresswoman. After four years it had worked so well that we agreed in 2018 to share all our articles and photos. It's working great, for our news staff and for readers, and I'm glad the AP is trying to help that kind of thing work statewide. After all, the original purpose of the AP was for newspapers to share content."

AP pioneered the idea of news sharing. The not-for-profit news cooperative was founded in 1846 when five New York City newspapers funded a pony express route through Alabama to bring news of the Mexican-American War north faster than ever before.

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