INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP

On the Forefront

Since its founding in 1846, The Associated Press has been at the forefront of the news industry on issues like freedom of the press, the public’s right to know, intellectual property rights and journalistic ethics and practices. AP devotes significant resources to these issues, and 2012 was no exception.

Muhammad Faeooq, an AP cameraman in Pakistan, at work during violent protests in the city of Karachi on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012.

AP Photo / Rizwan Tabassum

INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP

At the forefront

Since its founding in 1846, The Associated Press has been at the forefront of the news industry on issues like freedom of the press, the public’s right to know, intellectual property rights and journalistic ethics and practices. AP devotes significant resources to these issues, and 2012 was no exception.

Authenticating user-generated content

Given the scale of Superstorm Sandy in October, AP couldn’t be on hand to capture all the dramatic moments of impact. But there was amateur video and photography posted on social media. As a result of the expertise we have built over the past few years, we found and secured the most illuminating—and most credible—examples. Some of them are shared here.

AP was able to respond to Sandy adroitly thanks to user-generated content (UGC) practices already in place, many of which were honed as reporters and editors worked to secure authentic, compelling video and photos from Syria. AP International Social Media and User-Generated Content Editor Fergus Bell talks here about how UGC has expanded the horizons of newsgathering.

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    A Syrian man sits on a fallen statue of former Syrian President Hafez Assad in a central square in Raqqa, Syria, in a citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center that has been authenticated by AP, Tuesday, March 5, 2013.

    AP Photo / Aleppo Media Center AMC

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    Islamic militants seeking to topple President Bashar Assad took control of a northwestern air base and seized helicopters, tanks and multiple rocket launchers, activists said. This photo was authenticated by AP Friday, Jan. 11, 2013.

    AP Photo / Edlib News Network ENN

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    In this image taken from video that has been authenticated by AP, Syrians help an injured man after an airstrike hit Douma City, Syria on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013.

    AP Photo / Bambuser via AP video

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    This citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Revolution Against Assad's Regime, authenticated by AP, shows dead bodies in Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013.

    AP Photo / Aleppo Revolution Against Assad Regime

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    Shooting victim Robert Asika is tended to by pedestrians outside the Empire State Building in New York, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012, after a laid-off worker fatally shot an executive at his former company. This citizen journalist photo was verified by AP.

    AP Photo / mr_mookie via Instagram

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    In this photo taken by a citizen journalist with a mobile phone camera, a meteorite contrail is seen in Russia’s Chelyabinsk region on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. The meteor streaked across the sky of the Ural Mountains, causing sharp explosions and injuring many.

    AP Photo / Sergey Hametov

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Vigilance in the fight for access

AP has led the fight for open government in the United States and around the world for more than 100 years. In 2012, we filed approximately 50 appeals to contest federal Freedom of Information Act denials and negotiated with many more agencies on requests for records. These appeals and negotiations often led to stories of significant importance.

In one case, AP led a coalition of 16 media parties to challenge protocols in Idaho which restricted the public from witnessing the preparatory phase of an execution. AP sued for access to view the entirety of the executions: from the first moment that the condemned is brought into the chamber through to the end. Within days of AP’s suit, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Idaho execution protocol to be changed immediately to allow the full viewing of executions, and even ordered the state to pay the legal costs of the media consortium.

In a recent case, Rhode Island’s Supreme Court refused to delay the opening of sealed documents related to a Catholic organization whose founder was accused of molesting seminarians. AP, the New York Times and other media organizations sought to unseal the documents while the Legion of Christ argued they should remain closed.

Karen Kaiser, associate general counsel

Protecting original newsgathering

Today’s digital world makes it easy to misappropriate original content, and AP has been at the forefront of protecting its news from unlicensed use. In a sweeping victory for AP, with important implications for those who produce original news content and for the public that counts on it, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in AP’s favor in a copyright infringement suit against Meltwater News. Meltwater, a closed commercial electronic clipping service, provides its paying customers with customized “News Reports” consisting of verbatim excerpts from articles scraped from the Web, often consisting of 30 to 60 percent of breaking AP news articles. AP filed suit in 2012. The New York Times, McClatchy Co., Gannett Co., Advance Publications Inc., the Newspaper Association of America and BurrellesLuce filed a brief in support of AP.

AP cameraman Ahmed Bahaddou runs after he was shot during clashes between the Free Syrian Army and troops of the pro-Bashar Assad army in the town of Khan Sheikhoun near Idlib, Syria, Friday, June 15, 2012.

AP Photo

AP cameraman Ahmed Bahaddou runs after he was shot during clashes between the Free Syrian Army and troops of the pro-Bashar Assad army in town of Khan Sheikhoun near Idlib, Syria, Friday, June 15, 2012.

AP Photo