Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Sunday, June 14, 2009 8:02 pm

News wants, and now has permission, to be free

Filed under: Journalism — Lex @ 8:02 pm
Tags: ,

The nonprofit investigative-journalism outfit ProPublica is trying so hard to get its work in front of a wider audience — it posts its stuff with a Creative Commons license rather than relying on the more restrictive standard copyright — that it actually uses the slogan, “Steal our stories.”

The Associated Press is going to take them up on it:

The Associated Press today announced a program to promote non-profit investigative journalism, including articles from ProPublica, to its members for re-publication. The material will be distributed to AP members — including essentially all of the nation’s leading newspapers — through the Web-based delivery system AP Exchange. There will be no charge to AP members for using the stories, which, in addition to ProPublica, will come from the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Center for Public Integrity, and the Investigative Reporting Workshop. Announcement of the new program, described as a six-month pilot project, came at the annual convention of Investigative Reporters and Editors, held this year in Baltimore.

This move by AP should provide further impetus to the movement we’ve been pushing for editors and publishers to steal our stories under our Creative Commons license. We’ve been pleased recently to see ProPublica articles end up in the Orlando Sentinel and the Arizona Star, and on Web sites ranging from Huffington Post to RealClearPolitics to MainStreet.com. Keep those thefts coming.

As the newspaper industry, the source of the bulk of investigative reporting in America, continues to tank, a lot of people have been asking who will pick up the slack. ProPublica can’t do it all, of course, but it’s a good start.

Given the News & Record‘s focus on local news, it’ll be interesting to see whether ProPublica produces anything either so Greensboro-centric or so important-AND-uncovered-elsewhere that the N&R will pick it up. I wouldn’t bet on its happening anytime soon, but you never know.

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