The Associated Press, under the chairmanship of MediaNews CEO Dean Singleton, has been aggressive in taking legal action against media outlets that have used AP material without permission (link1, link2 and link3). Now AP has issued new guidelines to its employees about using material that was reported by other news organizations. The main thrust of Associated Press Senior Managing Editor Michael Oreskes’ memo is that AP writers should always credit the original source of the material they’re using. Oreskes writes:

    We should provide attribution whether the other organization is a newspaper, website, broadcaster or blog; whether or not it’s U.S. based; and whether or not it’s an AP member or subscriber. 
    This policy applies to all reports in all media, from short pieces, such as NewsNows and initial broadcast reports, to longer pieces aimed at print publication.

Oreskes’ memo appears to give bloggers a defense if they’re sued for using AP copy. If bloggers follow AP’s rules of attributing and crediting sources, then they can defend themselves by saying they’re doing exactly what AP does.

Bay Area Media News


  1. The mantra at any Singleton paper is to do things as cheaply as possible, even if that means lifting things from the competition. Saving money was always the priority, over and above ethics. After he took over AP, I'm sure that mindset settled into that organization as well. So this seems an outgrowth of that … a defensive move to protect AP from lawsuits while it fills the wire with questionable material from the Internet.

  2. This IS historic – and important. Perhaps this will force AP to do more original reporting by searching for new angles, something it hasn't had to do much of since UPI went on life support decades ago.

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