Five Major Newspapers to Share Content

A group of five major newspapers in New York and New Jersey are the latest to forge a content-sharing agreement that has already seen the trading of sports and news stories between several of the participants.

The new group includes: The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.; The Record of Hackensack, N.J.; the Times Union in Albany, N.Y.; The Buffalo (N.Y.) News; and the Daily News of New York, according to sources and a preliminary press release obtained by E&P.

The release, set to be released later today, states: “Five major newspapers in the northeast today announced an agreement to share editorial content.” It later adds that they have “formed the Northeast Consortium, a cooperative arrangement which will enhance each publication’s coverage in the region by exchanging articles, photographs and graphics among the newspapers.”

It states that the consortium will be in full sharing mode by May.

“As the Northeast Consortium, our publications will assist each other in gathering news, sports and features materials, giving our readers access to more and expanded content from the top newspapers in each of the respective markets,” Marc Kramer, CEO of the New York Daily News, stated in the release.

Ed Fay, vice president and director of editorial administration for the Daily News confirmed the agreement to E&P, noting his paper launched the search last October for sharing partners.

“We reached out to other newsrooms to get everyone together,” Fay said Wednesday. “We were looking for a way to enhance our coverage.”

Among the earlier potential participants was Newsday, according to Fay. He said the Long Island, N.Y., daily did not remain in the final group.

Fay said the initial plan is to set up a central content repository with each paper having access electronically to stories and photos. He describes it as a system in which editors would submit their budgets each day and then provide content they wish to share to the central location.

“Stuff will be coming in and out all day,” he noted. “We are going to dump our budget in the morning and in the evening.” He said exclusive content such as columns, investigative projects and other special content can be withheld.

The five papers made their final agreement in a meeting just last week.

Among the most significant aspects of the agreement is the sharing between The Record and Star-Ledger, which have long competed for both state and regional scoops and cover much of the same circulation area.

“We are excited to collaborate with these other papers,” Stephen Borg, Record publisher, stated in the release. “They excel in many areas. Record readers will benefit from expanded coverage. The Record will hopefully benefit the other papers in areas where we excel, like our coverage of the Meadowlands.”

In the past week, signs of such sharing have emerged as the Star-Ledger has begun publishing Daily News sports articles and several of the papers utilized Buffalo News reporting on the fatal plane crash there last Thursday night.

This is the latest in a growing string of papers joining forces to share content, ranging from South Florida to Maine.