Some smaller news outlets in swing states can't afford election coverage. AP is helping them


NEW YORK — Many of the swing states in this fall’s election contain small, independent news organizations that can’t afford comprehensive election coverage. The Associated Press said Thursday that it will help them in coming weeks and months.

Newsrooms that are members of the Institute for Nonprofit News or Local Independent Online News Publishers and are based in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada will be able to get AP campaign coverage this summer and fall along with detailed counts of what happens on election night, AP said. The move comes through a $1.5 million grant from the Knight Foundation, a nonprofit that funds journalism endeavors.

The Institute for Nonprofit News estimated that some 50 of its members would be eligible for the material. The publishers group said that all but a few of its 140 members in those states would qualify.

Through a Google News Initiative announced earlier this year, the AP is providing election night information — vote counts and charts — to some 100 small newsrooms across the country, and more are eligible. Thursday’s announcement broadens that to the election’s runup as well.

“Members of the INN Network regularly do the most consequential journalism around, and are sometimes the only source of accurate, independent coverage in a community,” said Jonathan Kealing, chief network officer of the Institute for Nonprofit News. “This collaboration with AP will allow them to augment their own essential local coverage with the AP’s vast array of election reporting and resources.”

In a certain sense, the project could enable AP to reach some news consumers it may have lost earlier this year: The Gannett and McClatchy news chains, with more than 230 outlets across the country, said in March they would no longer use AP journalism because of financial pressure on the news industry.

There was no immediate information available on whether the AP-Knight collaboration would spread beyond the swing states. The initiative is among a total of $6.9 million that Knight is spending to provide political data, polling and training to newsrooms this elections season.

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David Bauder writes about media for the AP. Follow him at http://twitter.com/dbauder.





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