|Logo on the former AP Building in New York City|
The Associated Press is a multinational non-profit news agency based in New York City. The AP is a nonprofit cooperative owned by its contributingnewspapers, radio, and television stations in the United States, all of which contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists. Many newspapers and broadcasters outside the United States are AP subscribers, paying a fee to use AP material without being contributing members of the cooperative.
The AP staff is represented by the Newspaper Guild union, which operates under the Communication Workers union, which operates under the AFL–CIO. The content of AP news stories relating to current political issues that impact union interests has increasingly been subject to claims of news media bias.
As of 2005, the news collected by the AP is published and republished by more than 1,700 newspapers, in addition to more than 5,001 television and radio broadcasters. The photograph library of the AP consists of over 10 million images. The Associated Press operates 243 news bureaus, and it serves at least 120 countries, with an international staff located worldwide.
Associated Press also operates The Associated Press Radio Network, which provides newscasts twice hourly for broadcast and satellite radio and television stations. The AP Radio also offers news and public affairs features, feeds of news sound bites, and long form coverage of major events.
As part of their cooperative agreement with The Associated Press, most member news organizations grant automatic permission for the AP to distribute their local news reports. For example, on page two of every edition of The Washington Post, the newspaper’s masthead includes the statement, “The Associated Press is entitled exclusively to use for re-publication of all news dispatches credited to it or not otherwise credited in this paper and all local news of spontaneous origin published herein.“
The AP employs the “inverted pyramid formula” for writing that enables the news outlets to edit a story to fit its available publication area without losing the story’s essential meaning and news information.
Cutbacks at longtime U.S. rival United Press International, most significantly in 1993, left the AP as the primary nationally oriented news service based in the United States, although UPI still produces and distributes news stories and photos daily. Other English-language news services, such asReuters and the English-language service of Agence France-Presse, are based outside the United States.
Associated Press is a not-for-profit news cooperative formed in the spring of 1846 by five daily newspapers in New York City to share the cost of transmitting news of the Mexican-American War by boat, horse express, and telegraph. The venture was organized by Moses Yale Beach (1800–68), second publisher of the New York Sun, and agreed to by the Herald, Courier and Enquirer, Journal of Commerce, and the Express. Some historians[who?] believe that the Tribune joined at this time; documents show it was a member in 1849. The New York Times became a member in 1851. Initially known as the New York Associated Press (NYAP), the organization faced competition from the Western Associated Press (1862), which criticized it for monopolistic practices in gathering news and setting prices. An investigation completed in 1892 by Victor Lawson, editor and publisher of the Chicago Daily News, revealed that several principals of the NYAP had entered into a secret agreement with United Press, a rival organization, to share NYAP news and the profits of reselling it. The revelations led to the demise of the NYAP and in December 1892, the Western Associated Press was incorporated in Illinois as the Associated Press. An Illinois Supreme Court decision (Inter Ocean Publishing Co. v. Associated Press) in 1900—that the AP was a public utility and operating in restraint of trade—resulted in AP’s move from Chicago to New York City, where corporation laws were more favorable to cooperatives.
When the Associated Press was founded, news became a salable commodity. The creation of the rotary press followed shortly after which led to the New York ‘Tribune installing high-speed press in the 1870s allowing them to publish 18,000 papers per hour. During the Civil War and Spanish-American War, there was a new incentive to write vivid, on-the-spot reporting leading to the Graphic Revolution. This occurred making man’s ability to make, preserve and transmit images, and print of these events much more feasible. Due to the fact that printing speed had been dramatically increased, this movement was legendary and has the Associated Press to thank for this achievements.
Melville Stone, who had founded the Chicago Daily News in 1875, served as AP General Manager from 1893 to 1921. He embraced the standards of accuracy, impartiality, and integrity. The cooperative grew rapidly under the leadership of Kent Cooper (served 1925–48), who built up bureau staff in South America, Europe, and (after World War II), the Middle East. He introduced the “telegraph typewriter” or teletypewriter into newsrooms in 1914. In 1935, AP launched the Wirephoto network, which allowed transmission of news photographs over leased private telephone lines on the day they were taken. This gave AP a major advantage over other news media outlets. While the first network was only between New York, Chicago and San Francisco, eventually AP had its network across the whole United States. In 1945, theSupreme Court of the United States held in Associated Press v. United States that AP had been violating the Sherman Antitrust Act by prohibiting member newspapers from selling or providing news to nonmember organizations as well as making it very difficult for nonmember newspapers to join the AP. In 1982, satellites began transmitting news photography. AP entered the broadcast field in 1941 when it began distributing news to radio stations; it created its own radio network in 1974. In 1994, it established APTV, a global video newsgathering agency. APTV merged with WorldWide Television News in 1998 to form APTN, which provides video to international broadcasters and websites. In 2004, AP moved its world headquarters from its longtime home at 50 Rockefeller Plaza to a huge building at 450 W. 33rd Street in Manhattan — which also houses the New York Daily News and the studios of New York’s public television station, WNET. In 2009, AP had more than 240 bureaus globally. Its mission —“to gather with economy and efficiency an accurate and impartial report of the news”—has not changed since its founding, but digital technology has made the distribution of the AP news report an interactive endeavor between AP and its 1,400 U.S. newspaper members as well as broadcasters, international subscribers, and online customers.
The Associated Press began diversifying its news gathering capabilities, and by 2007 AP was generating only about 30% of its revenue from United States newspapers. 37% came from the global broadcast customers, 15% from online ventures, and 18% came from international newspapers and from photography.