A.P. in Deal to Deliver Nonprofits' Journalism
By RICHARD PEREZ-PENA
New York Times
June 13, 2009
Four nonprofit groups devoted to investigative
journalism will have their work distributed by The
Associated Press, The A.P. will announce on Saturday,
greatly expanding their potential audience and helping
newspapers fill the gap left by their own shrinking resources.
Starting on July 1, the A.P. will deliver work by the
Center for Public Integrity, the Investigative Reporting
Investigative Reporting, and ProPublica to the 1,500
American newspapers that are A.P. members, which will be
free to publish the material.
The A.P. called the arrangement a six-month experiment
that could later be broadened to include other
investigative nonprofits, and to serve its nonmember
clients, which include broadcast and Internet outlets.
"It's something we've talked about for a long time,
since part of our mission is to enable our members to
share material with each other," said Sue Cross, a
senior vice president of The A.P. She said the
development in 2006 of an Internet-based system for
members to receive A.P. material made it easier to do
that kind of sharing, and to offer new products like the
As they sharply reduce their staffs, many newspapers
have cut back on investigations or given them up
entirely. When there are barely enough reporters to
cover the daily news from the local courthouse and the
school board, it is harder to justify assigning someone
to an in-depth project that might take weeks or months.
At the same time, independent groups doing investigative
journalism have grown in number and size, fueled by
foundations and wealthy patrons, and are offering their
work to newspapers, magazines, television and radio news
programs, and news Web sites. ProPublica was created in
2007 and the Investigative Reporting Workshop in 2008.
The Center for Investigative Reporting has operated for
more than three decades, and is doubling in size. The
four groups combined have more than 50 professional journalists.
Each group operates a little differently, but in general
they have made deals one by one with outlets that wanted
to use their work. (Though ProPublica's Web home page
also has a tab that urges "Steal Our Stories.") But
soon, their projects will be part of the stream of
material The A.P. delivers to its members, and a single
project could be published by dozens of newspapers.
"Our goal here is getting more eyeballs on what we do,
and the nonprofit sector is really picking up steam,"
said Robert Rosenthal, executive director of the Center
for Investigative Reporting, based in
In some cases, he said, the nonprofit groups might still
make exclusive arrangements with a partner in
traditional media, in which case the work would not
immediately go out to A.P. members.