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Reimagining the power of the cooperative

, by Patrick Maks

The Associated Press is reinventing how it cooperates with its member news organizations and nonprofits with the expansion of AP StoryShare, a tool that allows them to share content and collaborate.

Deputy Managing Editor for U.S. News Noreen Gillespie explains how AP StoryShare has revitalized cooperation among news outlets while increasing the availability of state and local news.

AP was founded as a cooperative 175 years ago. How has AP StoryShare changed the way we work with our members?

AP has long shared member content on its wires. Sometimes we pick up a member news outlet’s reporting or photos in a breaking news story or transmit a feature that we think will have wide interest. We are still a cooperative – we’re just changing the cooperative by reimagining how we cooperate. AP StoryShare knits together virtual newsrooms around geography or topic, and lets the network participants share what they want, when they want, how they want. It’s a tool to turbocharge the existence of state and topical news and put the power to share in the hands of the network.

How many members and other groups are using AP StoryShare? What kind of impact has it had?

Right now, we have six active networks in upstate New York, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon, New England and West Virginia, with others in development. More than 130 news outlets have contributed content across those six networks.

The first network to launch was in New York. The impact was immediate – stories started flowing within a couple of weeks. One editor said he hadn’t felt that informed about upstate New York in 30 years.

In Colorado, the Colorado News Collaborative used AP StoryShare to manage a project that shared the stories of Colorado residents during the pandemic over 24 hours. It was incredibly powerful, and the platform helped take the friction out of managing a huge, complicated project with many participants.

Some organizations want to use it to share assets for a common project; others want to use it as a way to exchange content for daily use. To date, more than 5,000 stories, 2,700 photos and 200 videos have been shared across the six networks.

This screengrab of AP StoryShare shows a selection of shared content in Colorado. (AP Photo)

What has been the biggest takeaway since AP StoryShare launched in January 2020?

Content sharing across AP’s network has been a value of being in the cooperative for decades. This reinvention gives newsrooms more power to decide which content they want to share. We’ve seen publications across all the networks credit each other, come up with ideas together, and help solve each other’s problems.

AP isn’t just a stream of content into customer newsrooms – we want to be a strategic partner to help our member newsrooms solve problems. And, in this case, we realized by working with our member and nonprofit participants that we could craft a solution to help increase the availability of local news.

Email to start or join a network.