Associated Press to Launch Nonprofit to Help Fund Local News

The Associated Press will launch a new nonprofit organization to raise funds to help state and local journalism, the media cooperative announced on Tuesday. The “sister organization” will be governed by an independent board of directors and will be classified as a 501(c)3 charitable organization, allowing it to help raise funds to support local news.

“The crisis in local news is only exacerbating,” said AP president and CEO Daisy Veerasingham in a statement. “It’s AP’s role as the cooperative at the heart of the news ecosystem to both reinforce our own state and local reporting as well as support other organizations who share our commitment to local journalism. State and local news is essential, both to the democratic process and to combatting misinformation. Simply put, it’s a public good.”

Local news has been hit hard by the contracting media landscape, resulting in many local outlets relying upon non-local sources for funding and newsgathering, such as the Sinclair Broadcast Group conglomerate.

The news of the AP’s nonprofit launch comes a few months after Gannett, publisher of USA Today and hundreds of local newspapers, said it would stop using (and, thus, paying for) the AP’s content. The move marked a significant blow to the wire service.

Tuesday’s announcement follows several content sharing collaborations AP recently announced with nonprofit news outlets across the U.S., including CalMatters, The Texas Tribune, South Dakota News Watch, Honolulu Civil Beat and others. These collaborations are aimed at expanding the reach of local journalism ahead of the 2024 U.S. presidential election.

The Associated Press struck a two-year deal with ChatGPT’s parent company OpenAI last year to share content, making it one of the first news organizations to partner up with the AI superpower.

The news organization “firmly supports a framework that will ensure intellectual property is protected and content creators are fairly compensated for their work,” Kristin Heitmann, AP senior vice president and chief revenue officer said at the time.

“News organizations must have a seat at the table to ensure this happens, so that newsrooms large and small can leverage this technology to benefit journalism,” Heitmann continued.

News of the AP’s nonprofit was first reported by Axios.

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