The Associated Press has joined forces with the National Sports Content Sharing Network (NSCSN), allowing the members of the NSCSN to share content via the AP's distribution platform as Nieman Lab reports.
The NSCSN allows sports writers to exchange content for free: the network is co-operative and so writers can contribute their own material to the pool and use the work of others in return. The network came about as a result of the split between the AP and eight Ohio-based newspapers, which decided in 2008 to set up their own cooperative newswire instead of using AP services.
The NSCSN followed this lead and decided to build on the common practice of swapping and sharing information between sports desks in order create a kind of swap-shop for sports content, ie a newswire that would not charge for use of its content.
The founder of the NSCSN, Roy Hewitt, told Nieman Lab that there were three principal conditions on which the partnership was struck : "One of those was that it would be free, which is guaranteed for at least the first year, and it's not expected to cost after that because AP is not looking at this as a revenue stream. No. 2, that it would be open to people who are not AP members, because you do not have to be a member of AP to be part of [the exchange]. And three, that the material only be available to members of the network."
Though the AP is a cooperative, just like the NSCSN, the clear key difference between the AP and the NSCSN - the same difference that caused those eight newspapers in Ohio to leave the AP - is that the AP's main service in expensive. The AP's electronic systems that enable the user to search for information held by the newswire are far more efficient than that of its new partner, therefore members of the NSCSN will be benefiting from a more efficient exchange of information. AP members will benefit from sports content that may not have otherwise featured on the AP wire but could still be used to produce valuable local sports coverage.
Correction: The founder of NSCSN was wrongly named as Ron Royhab. The founder of the NSCSN is in fact Roy Hewitt.