Thomson Reuters to launch U.S. news service to compete with AP

Thomson Reuters will launch a new U.S. news wire service called Reuters
America, in hopes of grabbing some of Associated Press’s market share.

The multimillion-dollar investment is a step towards the company’s plan to increase its local news coverage, part of what the company calls Project Apollo.

“We have an objective of helping the world’s news media to find new, better, more efficient ways of doing our craft,” said Thomson Reuters’ president of media, Chris Ahearn, told TheGlobe and Mail . “It’s tough out there. We think bringing this measure of scale, that can work across different countries and be truly global in nature, will benefit everybody.”

Media Daily News reports that the new service has already recruited some major publishers, including the Tribune Co., publisher of The Chicago Tribune (the company hopes to cut costs as part of its bankruptcy reorganization). MDN writer Erik Sass notes that “most Tribune papers retain some affiliation with the AP, and the Los Angeles Times expects to continue its full AP membership.”

Sass writes that the move to Reuters America “appears to be AP’s restrictions on repurposing its content, where Reuters America may offer more flexibility.”

Poynter’s Rick Edmonds writes:

“This is a shot at re-inventing the wire service model – leaner, more flexible, collaborative with other content producers, and above all cheaper. Reuters, specializing in finance and business on an international scale, will need to build general news capacity from the ground up. It will try to jump start the process by buying content from three sports sites and two entertainment sources. Tribune and future clients will have some capacity to custom order coverage and resell it as part of national news modules to smaller papers.”

The company is also creating revenue-sharing partnerships with companies that specialize in niche content, including online-only news outlets like and
SportsDirect. Ahearn tells the Globe that they’ve just signed six partnerships, which could go as high as 600 by the end of 2011.

Reuters employs 3,000 journalists globally. It will partner with, a site that hires freelancers to
write SEO-friendly articles (65,000 contributors produce 3,000 articles
daily, with a focus on local content.)

“For too long, this market was bound by a one-size-fits-all offering,” Ahearn said in a press release. “Reuters America is introducing choice and flexibility to the news industry. In today’s world, we must be more than a content provider – we need to be a partner and act as an extension of our clients’ newsroom.”