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The Associated Press (AP) is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United Statesmarker, which both 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 news collected by the AP is published and republished by more than 1,700 newspapers, in addition to more than 5,000 television and radio broadcaster. 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 all over the world.

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 Stylebook has become the de facto standard for news writing in the United States and Canada. 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.

The economic demise of the long-time rival of the Associated Press, United Press International, as a major American competitor in 1993 left the AP as the only nationally-oriented news service based in the United States. Other English-language news services, such as Reuters and the English language service of Agence France-Presse, are based outside the United States.


Current AP headquarters at 450 West 33rd Street
The Associated Press has its roots in a May 1846 agreement between five New York City newspapers to share incoming reports from the Mexican-American War. Moses Yale Beach, publisher of the New York Sun and a driving force in the organization's formation, invited other New York publishers to join the Sun in a cooperative venture to have news arrive more quickly from the fighting in the southwestern United States. Dispatches were relayed by boat to Mobile, Alabamamarker, by pony express to Montgomery, Alabamamarker , by stagecoach to Richmond, Virginiamarker, and finally by telegraph to New York City a day or so earlier than commonly-used mail service. Four other papers agreed to join the The Sun venture: The Journal of Commerce, New York Herald, the Courier and Enquirer, the New York Evening Express. As a network of telegraph lines extended out from the City, cooperation grew in sharing wire report.

In May 1848, a group of New York City publishers met at the offices of The Sun. The same five papers form the Harbor News Association to operate a small fleet of news boats to get news from arriving ships. The Naushonmarker (or Newsboy) steamship would meet international traffic at Sandy Hookmarker. While the earlier agreements had been mainly sharing of information, the Harbor News was the first attempt at building a shared news gathering organization, with ships and staff and a legal framework. Early the following year, on January 11th, 1849, the Harbor News Association was re-chartered to include the New York Tribune and a more formal framework for cooperation.

In 1850 the Philadelphia Public Ledger and Baltimore Sun paid to receive the news without joining the consortium. In the following years more clients and a seventh New York newspaper joined the consortium. In order to keep telegraph costs to a minimum, it sent the stories to regional locations which were then responsible for distributing it among themselves This led to the rise of regional press groups the Western Associated Press (WAP) in the Midwest, Northwestern Associated Press, the New England Associated Press, the Philadelphia Associated Press, and the New York State Associated Press.

Several press associations attempted to break the near monopoly in the 1860s and 1870s until the United Press started in 1882. In 1891 it was revealed that UPI was getting AP news for free causing a rift among the subset groups and most defected to the UPI. AP responded by striking a monopoly deal with Reuters in England, Havas in France and Wolff in Germany. Most of the papers returned to the AP.

In 1898 the AP discovered that Chicago Inter Ocean was using news from a wire set up by then rival New York Sun publisher William M. Laffan. AP refused service to the Inter Ocean and the paper filed suit with the Illinois Supreme Courtmarker which ruled that the AP was similar to a public utility and could not refuse service. The Associated Press of Illinois then dissolved and set up shop under New York law in 1900 as a non-profit membership organization.

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.

Key dates

  • 1849: the Harbor News Association opened the first news bureau outside the United Statesmarker, in Halifaxmarker, Nova Scotiamarker, to meet ships sailing from Europe before they reached dock in New York.
  • 1876: Mark Kellogg, a stringer, is the first AP news correspondent to be killed while reporting the news, at the Battle of the Little Bighornmarker. His final dispatch: "I go with (Commander George Armstrong) Custer and will be at the death."
  • 1893: Melville E. Stone becomes the general manager of the reorganized AP, a post he holds until 1921. Under his leadership, the AP grows to be one of the world's most prominent news agencies.
  • 1899: AP uses Guglielmo Marconi's wireless telegraph to cover the America's Cup yacht race off Sandy Hookmarker, New Jerseymarker, the first news test of the new technology.
  • 1914: AP introduces the Teletype, which transmitted directly to printers over telegraph wires. Eventually a worldwide network of 60-word-per-minute Teletype machines is built.
  • 1935: AP initiates WirePhoto, the world's first wire service for photographs. The first photograph to transfer over the network depicted an airplane crash in Morehousevillemarker, New Yorkmarker, on New Year's Day, 1935.
  • 1938: AP expands to new offices at 50 Rockefeller Plaza (known as "50 Rock") in the newly built Rockefeller Centermarker in New York City, which would remain its headquarters for 66 years.
  • 1941: AP expands from print to radio broadcast news.
  • 1945: AP Parismarker bureau chief Edward Kennedy defies an Allied headquarters news blackout to report Nazi Germany’s surrender, touching off a bitter episode that leads to his eventual dismissal by the AP. Kennedy maintains that he reported only what German radio already had broadcast.
  • 1994: AP launches APTV, a global video news gathering agency, headquartered in Londonmarker.
  • 2004: The AP moves its headquarters from 50 Rock to 450 W. 33rd Street, New York City.

AP sports polls

The AP is known for its Associated Press polls on numerous college sports in the United Statesmarker. The AP polls ranking the top 25 NCAA Division I (Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivision) college football and NCAA Division I men's and women's college basketball teams are the most well known. The AP composes the polls by collecting and compiling the top-25 votes of numerous designated sports journalists. The AP poll of college football was particularly notable for many years because it helped determine the ranking of teams at the end of the regular season for the collegiate Bowl Championship Series until the AP, citing conflict of interest, asked for the poll to be removed from the bowl series. Beginning in the 2005 season, the Harris Interactive College Football Poll took the AP's place in the bowl series formula. The AP poll is the longest serving national poll in college football, having begun in 1936.

AP sports awards

Every year on March 31, the AP releases the names of the winners of its AP College Basketball Player of the Year and AP College Basketball Coach of the Year awards.

In 1959, the AP began its AP Manager of the Year Award, for major-league baseball. The award was discontinued in 2001.

Associated Press Television News

The APTN Building in London
In 1994, London-based Associated Press Television (APTV) was founded to provide agency news material to television broadcasters. Other existing providers of such material at the time were Reuters Television and Worldwide Television News (WTN).

In 1998, AP purchased WTN, and APTV left the Associated Press building in the Central London and merged with WTN to create Associated Press Television News (APTN) in the WTN building, now the APTN building in Camden Town.


Christopher Newton

The Associated Press fired Washington, D.C.marker, bureau reporter Christopher Newton in September 2002, accusing him of fabricating at least 40 people and organizations since 2000. Some of the nonexistent agencies quoted in his stories included "Education Alliance," the "Institute for Crime and Punishment in Chicago," "Voice for the Disabled" and "People for Civil Rights."

Fair use controversies

In June 2008, the AP sent numerous DMCA take down demands and threatened legal action against several blogs. The AP contended that the internet blogs were violating AP's copyright by linking to AP material and using headlines and short summaries in those links. Many bloggers and experts noted that the use of the AP news fell squarely under commonly accepted internet practices and within fair use standards. Others noted and demonstrated that AP routinely takes similar excerpts from other sources, often without attribution or licenses. AP responded that it was defining standards regarding citations of AP news.

Shepard Fairey

In March 2009, the Associated Press counter-sued artist Shepard Fairey over his famous image of Barack Obama, saying the uncredited, uncompensated use of an AP photo violated copyright laws and signaled a threat to journalism. Fairey had sued the Associated Press the previous month over his artwork, titled "Obama Hope" and "Obama Progress," arguing that he didn't violate copyright law because he dramatically changed the image. The artwork, based on an April 2006 picture taken for the AP by Mannie Garcia, was a popular image during the presidential campaign and now hangs in the National Portrait Gallerymarker in Washington. According to the AP lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan, Fairey knowingly "misappropriated The AP's rights in that image." The suit, which also names Fairey's companies, asks the court to award AP profits made off the image and damages. "While (Fairey and the companies) have attempted to cloak their actions in the guise of politics and art, there is no doubt that they are profiting handsomely from their misappropriation," the lawsuit says. Fairey said he looked forward to "upholding the free expression rights at stake here" and disproving the AP's accusations.

Hot News

In January 2008, the Associated Press sued All Headline News (AHN) claiming that AHN infringed on its copyrights and a 'quasi-property' right to facts. The AP lawsuit alleged that competitor AHN copied the AP’s headlines and news without permission and without paying a syndication fee. After AHN moved to dismiss all but the copyright claims brought by AP, a portion of the lawsuit was dismissed. According to court documents, the case has been dismissed and both parties have settled the lawsuit.


The Associated Press is governed by an elected board of directors.

Web resource

The AP's multi-topic structure has lent itself well to web portals, such as Yahoo!, MSN and so forth all have news sites which constantly need to be updated. Often, such portals will rely on AP and other news services as their first source for news coverage of breaking news items. Yahoo's "Top News" page gives the AP top visibility out of any news outlet. This has been of major impact to the AP's public image and role, as it gives new credence to the AP's continual mission of having staff for covering every area of news fully and promptly. The AP is also the news service used on the Nintendo Wii's News Channel. In 2007 Google announced it was paying for Associated Press content displayed in Google News, but the articles are not permanently archived.


  1. AP Manager of the Year Award, Retrieved 2009-09-29.
  2. AP's Fair Use Challenge (Harvard Law)
  3. Citizen Media Law Project

External links

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