Five major newspapers in New Jersey and New York announced on Wednesday that they would share articles and photographs, adding to a growing movement in an industry that is seeking new ways to cope with shrinking resources.
The consortium is made up of The Daily News of New York; The Star-Ledger, based in Newark; The Buffalo News; The Record, based in Hackensack, N.J.; and The Times Union of Albany. Similar alliances were formed in the last year among groups of papers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Texas.
Nearly all American newspapers have far fewer journalists than they did a few years ago, and content-sharing agreements allow them to expand their reach at no expense. But it also raises questions about the potential for diminished competition among papers.
“The question is, what’s to stop a paper from saying, ‘I’m not going to cover that event — I’ll assume the other guy will?’ ” said Rex Smith, the editor of The Times Union. “We’ll have to guard against too much of that.”
The consortium has a combined weekday circulation of more than 1.3 million, and executives who are taking part say they expect other newspapers to join. Newsday, the main Long Island paper, participated in the talks, but dropped out early on.
The papers say they will share most of their original content, though they may withhold material like investigative articles and the work of columnists. They are still developing a computer system to make sharing quick and simple.
The arrangement got a trial run when The Star-Ledger and The Buffalo News shared their work on the Feb. 12 crash of an airliner that left Newark bound for Buffalo.
Perhaps the most striking part of the alliance is that it includes both The Star-Ledger and The Record, the two largest newspapers in New Jersey, which compete fiercely on news about state politics and government.
“We’ll see how much content actually gets shared,” said James P. Willse, editor of The Star-Ledger. “This is, to some degree, uncharted territory.”
Several papers around the country that have agreed to share content were motivated in part by dissatisfaction with the prices charged by The Associated Press, the largest of several news services. Some papers in the New York-New Jersey group have tried to bargain for lower rates, including The Star-Ledger, which conducted a pointed experiment last year, publishing one day’s edition without any A.P. content.
“This is not an anti-A.P. initiative,” Mr. Willse said. “But I think any good-sized paper has to explore alternative ways of getting content.”