Friday, September 10, 2004

AP now available for classroom

Last year, I noted here that the AP's Tom Curley said the wire service soon would have plans in place for a low-cost wire for college classroom use.

Well, it's here, but it's not exactly a "wire." Instead, it's access to a special Web site based on an existing account held by a student media outlet on campus (if you don't have a media outlet with an AP account, contact your state's bureau chief for details and cost. The bureau contact list is here. Unfortunately, the AP won't tell you the bureau chief's name on its Web site.)

If you have a media outlet getting AP, then you can access the wire (stories and photos) through YourAP, the wire service's rerun site for members (the days of encouraging members to call a bureau for reruns diminshed several years ago). You need to get the logon and password from your student media outlet. There's no additional cost as long as your media outlet is already paying for a feed.

Remember, the AP is very touchy about republication of its material. So I'm advising folks not only to keep it off Web sites and out of publications (including any school or college newsletters, etc.) without authorization, I also would be leery about posting any of these files on a course-management system, such as Blackboard or WebCT. Unlike the Web-formatted AP photos you see on many Web sites, which take out a lot of quality, the photos you get from YourAP are the real deal, and so could easily be misused. It's worth clarifying with your AP contact.

(Thanks to Deborah Gump at Ohio U. for the tip-off and to Columbia Bureau Chief John Shurr for the confirmation and details.)

Since posting, have gotten word back that looks as though AP will be much less restrictive on this. Here's the message to me:

At the J-school, it's "available" for any and all uses, including by professors for classroom purposes and for the Practicum, but I don't see them publishing AP stuff like a real newspaper because that's not what they're about. AP stuff could be used for ideas or insertion with credit, of course. The NewsPlex can do whatever they want with it. They don't publish a product so there's no issue there.
The "Practicum" is the weekly newspaper and Web site we put out, and I specifically had asked about use on the Newsplex Web site. So it sounds as if AP is being a little more flexibil on this. I still would check with your local CoB to make sure that sentiment is shared.

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