An AP staffer who reports and writes a story must use original content, language and phrasing. We do not plagiarize, meaning that we do not take the work of others and pass it off as our own.
When we match a report that a news outlet was first with due to significant reporting effort, we should mention that the other outlet first reported it. At the same time, it is common for AP staffers to include in their work passages from previous AP stories by other writers – generally background, or boilerplate.
This is acceptable if the passages are short. Regardless, the reporter writing the story is responsible for the factual and contextual accuracy of the material. Also, the AP often has the right to use material from its members and subscribers; as with material from other news media, we credit it. Unless we are clearly retransmitting in full a story by a member outlet, we do not transmit stories in their original form; we rewrite them, so that the approach, content, structure and length meet our requirements and reflect the broader audience we serve.
Under no circumstances can news releases be published in their original form; we can use information, quotes and properly cleared images from releases, but we must judge the material’s credibility, augment it with information from other sources, and then prepare our own stories, with the release material duly credited.
For video, if another broadcaster's material is required and distributed, we advise the name of that broadcaster on the accompanying shot list. Pickups of audio and of television graphics are credited in billboards/captions when the source requests it.