Apr 20, 2021 - Economy

Exclusive: AP building local news collaborative

The AP is doubling down on its local news experiment called StoryShare, which helped newsrooms quickly share information around COVID, AP deputy managing editor for U.S. News Noreen Gillespie tells Axios.

The big picture: There are now more than 130 newsrooms participating in the program across geographic networks in Colorado, Upstate New York, Oregon, New England, West Virginia, Illinois, and more.

  • The AP hopes to have 20 of these "networks up and running by the end of 2021," Gillespie says.

In coming months, the network will expand from geographic networks to topical ones.

  • Newsrooms will be able to create networks where they can share stories, photos, videos, etc. around topics as specific as a single storm or as broad as something like gun control or climate change.
  • The program, initially funded via a grant from the Google News Initiative, is facilitated by the AP, but the participating newsrooms in the networks decide how much they want to share.

What's next: The networks are available for free for local newsrooms that are AP clients or non-profits. Non-AP customers can access the networks through grants or a fee.

  • "Down the road, we could address monetization, but right now this is about giving customers the capability to launch networks and improve coverage."

The bottom line: "There are moments when we need to prioritize collaboration over competition," Gillespie says.

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