The venture, announced Thursday, will operate initially in Philadelphia, where it was tested, as well as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Washington. Those are the markets where both companies own stations.
Executives at the Fox Television Stations and NBC Local Media portrayed it as a way to save money for local news operations, which have been hit hard recently as heavy advertisers like automakers have been pulling back spending.
"We're sending the same people and expensive equipment to cover the same stories and bring back the same pictures day in and day out," said Jack Abernethy, CEO of the Fox group, which owns 27 stations in 18 markets nationally.
Abernethy and John Wallace, president of NBC Local Media, said the move would not diminish the journalism at the local stations. Instead, it would free crews at each station to cover more stories, they said. News directors could still send their own reporters to events involved in the shared coverage to get their own take on the stories, they said.
The footage will also be made available for sale to other media in the markets, including newspapers, radio stations and digital news outlets, they said.
The competitors will consult each morning to decide which stories could benefit from the shared resources, they said. NBC Local Media owns 10 local stations across the country.
"We hope this will be a model for the entire industry," Wallace said.