|Founded||May 22, 1846|
|Revenue||US$568.13 million (2015)|
|$1.6 million (2016)|
Number of employees
The Associated Press (AP) is an American not-for-profit news agency headquartered in New York City. Founded in 1846, it operates as a cooperative, unincorporated association. Its members are U.S. newspapers and broadcasters. AP news reports, distributed to its members and customers, are produced in English, Spanish and Arabic. The AP has earned 54 Pulitzer Prizes, including 32 for photography, since the award was established in 1917.
The AP has counted the vote in U.S. elections since 1848, including national, state and local races down to the legislative level in all 50 states, along with key ballot measures. The AP collects and verifies returns in every county, parish, city and town across the U.S., and declares winners in over 5,000 contests.
By 2016, news collected by the AP was published and republished by more than 1,300 newspapers and broadcasters. The AP operates 248 news bureaus in 99 countries. It also operates the AP Radio Network, which provides newscasts twice hourly for broadcast and satellite radio and television stations. 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. As part of their cooperative agreement with the AP, most member news organizations grant automatic permission for the AP to distribute their local news reports. The AP traditionally employed the "inverted pyramid" formula for writing, a method that enables news outlets to edit a story to fit its available publication area without losing the story's essentials, although in 2007, then-AP President Tom Curley called the practice "dead."
The Associated Press was formed in May 1846 by five daily newspapers in New York City to share the cost of transmitting news of the Mexican–American War. The venture was organized by Moses Yale Beach (1800–68), second publisher of The Sun, joined by the New York Herald, the New York Courier and Enquirer, The Journal of Commerce, and the New York Evening Express. Some historians believe that the New-York Tribune joined at this time; documents show it was a member in 1849. The New York Times became a member shortly after its founding in September 1851. Initially known as the New York Associated Press (NYAP), the organization faced competition from the Western Associated Press (1862), which criticized its monopolistic news gathering and price setting practices. 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. A 1900 Illinois Supreme Court decision (Inter Ocean Publishing Co. v. Associated Press)—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 AP was founded, news became a saleable commodity. The invention of the rotary press allowed the New-York Tribune in the 1870s to print 18,000 papers per hour. During the Civil War and Spanish–American War, there was a new incentive to print vivid, on-the-spot reporting. 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, the Supreme Court of the United States held in Associated Press v. United States that the 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. The decision facilitated the growth of its main rival United Press International, headed by Hugh Baillie from 1935 to 1955.
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 West 33rd Street in Manhattan—which also houses the New York Daily News and the studios of New York's public television station, WNET. In 2019, 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 AP 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.
The AP's multi-topic structure has resulted in web portals such as Yahoo! and MSN posting its articles, often relying on the AP as their first source for news coverage of breaking news items. This and the constant updating evolving stories require has had a major impact on the AP's public image and role, giving new credence to the AP's ongoing mission of having staff for covering every area of news fully and promptly. The AP was also the news service used on the Wii's News Channel. In 2007, Google announced that it was paying to receive Associated Press content, to be displayed in Google News, though this was interrupted from late 2009 to mid-2010, due to a licensing dispute.
- 1849: the Harbor News Association opened the first news bureau outside the United States in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to meet ships sailing from Europe before they reached dock in New York.
- 1876: Mark Kellogg, a stringer, was the first AP news correspondent to be killed while reporting the news, at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
- 1893: Melville E. Stone became the general manager of the reorganized AP, a post he held until 1921. Under his leadership, the AP grew to be one of the world's most prominent news agencies.
- 1899: AP used Guglielmo Marconi's wireless telegraph to cover the America's Cup yacht race off Sandy Hook, New Jersey, the first news test of the new technology.
- 1914: AP introduced the teleprinter, which transmitted directly to printers over telegraph wires. Eventually a worldwide network of 60-word-per-minute teleprinter machines is built.
- 1935: AP initiated WirePhoto, the world's first wire service for photographs. The first photograph to transfer over the network depicted an airplane crash in Morehouse, New York, on New Year's Day, 1935.
- 1938: AP expanded new offices at 50 Rockefeller Plaza (known as "50 Rock") in the newly built Rockefeller Center in New York City, which would remain its headquarters for 66 years.
- 1941: AP expanded from print to radio broadcast news.
- 1941: Wide World News Photo Service purchased from The New York Times.
- 1943: AP sends Ruth Cowan Nash to cover the deployment of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps to Algeria. Nash is the first American woman war correspondent.
- 1945: AP war correspondent Joseph Morton was executed along with nine OSS men and four British SOE agents by the Germans at Mauthausen concentration camp. Morton was the only Allied correspondent to be executed by the Axis during World War II. That same year, AP Paris bureau chief Edward Kennedy defied an Allied headquarters news blackout to report Nazi Germany's surrender, touching off a bitter episode that lead to his eventual dismissal by the AP. Kennedy maintains that he reported only what German radio already had broadcast.
- 1951: AP war correspondent Prague bureau chief William N. Oatis was arrested for espionage by the Communist government of Czechoslovakia. He was not released until 1953.
- 1974: AP launches Associated Press Radio Network headquartered in Washington, D.C.
- 1994: AP launches APTV, a global video news gathering agency, headquartered in London.
- 2004: The AP moved its headquarters from 50 Rock to 450 W. 33rd Street, New York City.
- 2006: AP joined YouTube.
- 2008: The AP launched AP Mobile (initially known as the AP Mobile News Network), a multimedia news portal that gives users news they can choose and provides anytime access to international, national and local news. AP was the first to debut a dedicated iPhone application in June 2008 on stage at Apple's WWDC event. The app offered AP's own worldwide coverage of breaking news, sports, entertainment, politics and business as well as content from more than 1,000 AP members and third-party sources.
- 2010: AP launched multi-device World Cup Soccer Applications providing real-time news coverage of the 2010 World Cup on desktop, Apple and Android devices.
- 2010: AP earnings fall 65% from 2008 to just $8.8 million. The AP also announced that it would have posted a loss of $4.4 million had it not liquidated its German-language news service for $13.2 million.
- 2011: AP revenue dropped $14.7 million in 2010. 2010 revenue totaled $631 million, a decline of 7% from the previous year. AP rolled out price cuts designed to help newspapers and broadcasters cope with declining revenue.
- 2012: Gary B. Pruitt succeeded Tom Curley to become president and CEO. Pruitt is the 13th leader of AP in its 166-year history.
- 2016: AP Reports that income dropped to $1.6 million from $183.6 million in 2015. The 2015 profit figure was bolstered by a one-time, $165 million tax benefit.
- 2017: AP moved its headquarters to 200 Liberty Street, New York City.
- 2018: AP unveiled AP Votecast to replace exit polls for the 2018 US midterm elections.
AP sports polls
The AP conducts polls for numerous college sports in the United States. The AP college football rankings were created in 1936, and began including the top 25 teams in 1989. Since 1969, the final poll of each season has been released after all bowl games have been played. The AP released its all-time Top 25 in 2016. As of 2017 , 22 different programs had finished in the number one spot of the poll since its inception.
The AP college basketball poll has been used as a guide for which teams deserve national attention. The poll first began its poll of college basketball teams in 1949, and has since conducted over 1,100 polls. The college basketball poll started with 20 teams and was reduced to 10 during the 1960-61 college basketball season. It returned to 20 teams in 1968-69 and expanded to 25 beginning in 1989–90. The final poll for each season is released prior to the conclusion of the NCAA tournament, so all data includes regular season games only. In 2017, The AP released a list of the Top 100 teams of all time. The poll counted poll appearances (one point) and No. 1 rankings (two points) to rank each team.
AP sports awards
The AP began its Major League Baseball Manager of the Year Award in 1959, for a manager in each league. From 1984 to 2000, the award was given to one manager in all of MLB. The winners were chosen by a national panel of AP baseball writers and radio men. The award was discontinued in 2001.
Every year, 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. It also honors a group of All-American players.
Associated Press Television News
In 1994, London-based Associated Press Television (APTV) was founded to provide agency news material to television broadcasters. In 1998, AP purchased Worldwide Television News (WTN) from the ABC News division of The Walt Disney Company, Nine Network Australia and ITN London. AP publishes 70,000 videos and 6,000 hours of live video per year, as of 2016 . The agency also provides four simultaneous live video channels. AP was the first news agency to launch a live video news service in 2003.
Litigation and controversies
The kidnapping of Tina Susman
In 1994, Tina Susman was on her fourth trip to Somalia, reporting for the AP. She was reporting on U.S. peacekeeping troops leaving the country. Somali rebels outnumbered her bodyguards in Mogadishu, dragged her from her car in broad daylight, and held her for 20 days. She told The Quill that she believes being a woman was an advantage in her experience there. The AP however had requested news organizations including The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and The Washington Post to suppress the story to discourage the emboldening of the kidnappers. That year she subsequently moved to Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire to become AP's West and Central Africa news editor and correspondent.
Washington, D.C. bureau reporter Christopher Newton, an AP reporter since 1994, was fired by AP in September 2002 after he was accused of fabricating sources since 2000, including at least 40 people and organizations. Prior to his firing, Newton had been focused on writing about federal law-enforcement while based at the Justice Department. 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".
FBI impersonation case
In 2007, an FBI agent working in Seattle impersonated an AP journalist and infected the computer of a 15-year old suspect with a malicious surveillance software. The incident sparked a strongly-worded statement from the AP demanding the bureau never impersonate a member of the news media again. Moreover, in September 2016 the incident resulted in a condemnation by the Justice Department.
Copyright and intellectual property
In August 2005, Ken Knight, a Louisiana photographer, sued the AP claiming that it had willfully and negligently violated Knight's copyright by distributing a photograph of celebrity Britney Spears to various media outlets including, but not limited to: truTV (formerly CourtTV), America Online and Fox News. The case was settled in November 2006.
In a case filed February 2005, McClatchey v. The Associated Press, a Pennsylvania photographer sued the AP for cropping a picture to remove the plaintiff's embedded title and copyright notice and later distributed it to news organizations without the plaintiff's permission or credit. The parties settled.
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.
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 AP the previous month over his artwork, titled "Obama Hope" and "Obama Progress", arguing that he did not 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 2008 presidential election and now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. According to the AP lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan, Fairey knowingly "misappropriated The AP's rights in that image". The suit asked the court to award AP profits made off the image and damages. Fairey said he looked forward to "upholding the free expression rights at stake here" and disproving the AP's accusations. In January 2011 this suit was settled with neither side declaring their position to be wrong but agreeing to share reproduction rights and profits from Fairey's work.
In January 2008, Associated Press sued competitor All Headline News (AHN) claiming that AHN allegedly infringed on its copyrights and a contentious "quasi-property" right to facts. The AP complaint asserted that AHN reporters had copied facts from AP news reports without permission and without paying a syndication fee. After AHN moved to dismiss all but the copyright claims set forth by AP, a majority of the lawsuit was dismissed. The case has been dismissed and both parties settled.
In June 2010, Associated Press was accused of having unfair and hypocritical policies after it was demonstrated that AP reporters had copied original reporting from the "Search Engine Land" website without permission, attribution, or credit.
In April 2013, AP stated that it had dropped the term "illegal immigrant" from its AP Stylebook. AP followed ABC, NBC, and CNN in not using the term. Jose Antonio Vargas commended The Associated Press for its decision.
Syndicated writer Ruben Navarrette criticized the decision, stating the reasoning behind the decision was political correctness and called the blog "incomprehensible". Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said of the decision, that she does not get involved in "vocabulary wars" and then stated "They are immigrants who are here illegally, that's an illegal immigrant."
Hoax tweet and flash crash
Justice Department subpoena of phone records
On May 13, 2013, The Associated Press announced telephone records for 20 of their reporters during a two-month period in 2012, had been subpoenaed by the U.S. Justice Department and described these acts as a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into news-gathering operations. The AP reported that the Justice Department would not say why it sought the records, but sources stated that the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia's office was conducting a criminal investigation into a May 7, 2012 AP story about a CIA operation that prevented a terrorist plot to detonate an explosive device on a commercial flight. The DOJ did not direct subpoenas to the AP, instead going to their phone providers, including Verizon Wireless. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testified under oath in front of the House Judiciary Committee that he recused himself from the leak investigations to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest. Holder said his Deputy Attorney General, James M. Cole, was in charge of the AP investigation and would have ordered the subpoenas.
African climate activist cropped from a photo
In January 2020, AP cropped Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate out from a photo she appeared in featuring her with Greta Thunberg and activists Luisa Neubauer, Isabelle Axelsson, and Loukina Tille after they all attended the World Economic Forum in Davos. Nakate accused the "various" outlets of doing so out of racist motives. Associated Press later changed the photo and indicated there was no ill intent, and apologized.
The AP deal with Nazi Germany
The AP gave the German National Socialists access to its photo archives for its antisemitic propaganda.
Investigators (chiefly Norman Domeier of the University of Vienna) have in recent years brought to wider attention the (well known in some circles) secret that there was a deal between Associated Press and the German government related to the interchange of press photos during the period in which the United States was at war with Germany. This relationship involved the Buro Laux, run by the photographer, Helmut Laux.
The mechanism for this interchange was that a courier flew to Lisbon and back each day transporting photos from and for Germany's wartime enemy, the US, via diplomatic pouch. The transactions were initially conducted at the AP bureau under Luiz Lupi in Lisbon, and from 1944, when the exchange via Lisbon took too long, also at the AP bureau in Stockholm under Eddie Shanke. Here, as a cover, the Swedish agency, Pressens Bild, was involved as an intermediary. An estimated 40,000 photos were exchanged between the enemies in this way.
Claim of biased reporting
In his book Broken Spring: An American-Israeli Reporter's Close-up View of How Egyptians Lost Their Struggle for Freedom, former AP correspondent Mark Lavie claims that the AP upheld a narrative line in which Arabs and Palestinians were entirely without blame in a conflict where all guilt lay with Israel. Israeli journalist Matti Friedman accused AP of killing a story he wrote about the "war of words", "between Israel and its critics in human rights organizations", in the aftermath of the Israel/Gaza conflict of 2008–09.
The AP has earned 54 Pulitzer Prizes, including 32 for photography, since the award was established in 1917. In May 2020, Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan, and Channi Anand of the AP were honored with the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography. The choice caused controversy, because it was taken by some as questioning "India's legitimacy over Kashmir" as it had used the word "independence" in regard to revocation of Article 370.
|Board of Directors|
|Steven R. Swartz (Chairman)||Hearst Corporation|
|Donna J. Barrett||Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.|
|Richard A Boehne||The E.W. Scripps Company|
|Elizabeth Brenner||The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel|
|Journal Communications, Inc.|
|Robert Brown||Swift Communications|
|William Stacey Cowles||The Spokesman-Review|
|Cowles Publishing Co.|
|Kirk Davis||GatehouseMedia, LLC|
|New Media Investment Group|
|Michael Golden||The New York Times Company|
|Bill Hoffman||Cox Media Group|
|Terry J. Kroeger||BH Media Group|
|The Omaha World-Herald|
|Isaac Lee||Univision Communications, Inc.|
|Robin McKinney Martin||The Santa Fe New Mexican and The Taos News|
|Gracia C. Martore||Gannett Co., Inc.|
|Jim M. Moroney III||A. H. Belo Corporation|
|William O. Nutting||The Ogden Newspapers Inc.|
|David M. Paxton||Paxton Media Group|
|Patrick J. Talamantes||The McClatchy Company|
|Paul C. Tash||Times Publishing Company|
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