Yesterday, the Associated Press announced that it would augment its syndicated news offerings with content taken from non-profit organizations. According to the announcement:

"Newspapers, for the first time, will be able to request that feeds of nonprofit materials be delivered directly into their content management systems through AP's Webfeeds software. The project will begin testing with nonprofit organizations in California and will use Internet delivery feeds that have been put in place at newspapers over the past year."

The move is occasioned by the increase in public service journalism by foundations and other non-profits, which have made up in part for a beleaguered for-profit journalism sector. This is an outgrowth of an earlier project that used several nonprofits to provide content on specific issues such as campaign financing through an AP website.

Partners on that undertaking included ProPublica, the Investigative Reporting Workshop, the Center for Public Integrity and the Center for Investigative Reporting. Joining these established partners will be the Maynard Institute.

This project is for organizations that provide journalism free of charge. AP already has the APT system in place for the distribution of non-profit journalism content that for which its providers charge.

According to the Nieman Journalism Lab, the pilot project was not all that successful, as AP partners did not pick up a lot of the content. A lot of this problem may have been technical. AP has transitioned from its traditional satellite "wire" to its Web-based AP Exchange. But to find stories there, editors needed to search for them, not likely to be a common event for anyone who's spent time in a newsroom.

This iteration, however, will be using the AP Webfeeds tool, which will bring streams of stories to the user based on keywords and other criteria. This should make the process of reviewing stories for possible inclusion a lot easier and overcome what was essentially a technical-traffic obstacle.

Printing press photo by Carol Guillaume