This article concerns the news service. For other uses, see AP (disambiguation).
The Associated Press, or AP, is an American news agency that claims to be the world's oldest and largest. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, who both contribute stories to it and use material written by its staffers.
As of 2004, AP's news is used by 1,700 newspapers, in addition to 5,000 television and radio outlets. Its photo library consists of over 10 million images. The AP has 242 bureaus and serves 121 countries, with a diverse international staff drawing from all over the world.
The collapse of United Press International, AP's traditional competitor, has left it as the only national news service in the United States. Only a few foreign challengers, such as Reuters, exist for English-language news coverage. It is so omnipresent that the AP Stylebook has become the de facto standard for newswriting in the country.
The AP has a straightforward, "just-the-facts" writing style, often using pyramid style writing in which news is placed into the least amount of space possible so that stories can be edited to fit a newspaper news-hole without losing the essence of the story. The explosion of media and news outlets with the arrival of the Internet has made such concise writing less necessary, and raised the need for more feature-style writing.
It has also posed a threat to AP's financial structure. On April 18, 2005, at its annual meeting, AP announced that as of 2006 it would, for the first time, begin charging separate fees for posting articles and pictures online. News outlets that buy AP's news, sports, business and entertainment coverage have previously been allowed to place the material online at no extra cost.
AP was formed in May 1848 by representatives of six competitive New York newspapers, who wanted to pool resources to collect news from Europe. Until then, newspapers competed by sending reporters out in rowboats to meet the ships as they arrived in the harbor. The following year it opened the first bureau outside the U.S., in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to meet ships from Europe before they docked in New York City.
In 1861, facing censorship in covering the American Civil War, reporters first filed under the anonymous byline "from the Associated Press agent."
In 1876, Mark Kellogg, a stringer, became the first AP correspondent to die in the line of duty, at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. His final dispatch: "I go with Custer and will be at the death."
In 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 telegraph.
In 1914, AP introduced the Teletype, which transmitted directly to printers over telegraph wires. Eventually a worldwide network of 60-word-per-minute Teletypes was built up.