‘A great loss’: AAP to close after 85 years
Australia's AAP Newswire will close after 85 years of supplying content to national and global newspapers, broadcast outlets and digital editions. The business is no longer viable in the face of increasing free online content, CEO Bruce Davidson said on Tuesday when confirming job losses and the cessation of output at the end of June.
Australian Associated Press's Pagemasters editorial production service will also close at the end of August.
AAP is owned by Nine, News Corp Australia, The West Australian and Australian Community Media.
AAP chairman Campbell Reid described the newswire as Australian "journalism's first responder".
"It is a great loss that professional and researched information provided by AAP is being substituted with the un-researched and often inaccurate information that masquerades as real news on the digital platforms," added Mr Reid, who is also a News Corp executive.
AAP Newswire provided reporting on general news, courts, politics, finance, entertainment, travel, racing and sport, sport results, plus images and video. The decision to close had been tough but shareholders were left with little option, he said.
"The number of organisations choosing to no longer rely on the AAP service has made the business unsustainable." AAP Newswire has more than 180 staff spread across every Australian state and territory, plus New Zealand, Los Angeles and London. In addition there are about 100 freelance photographers. And scores more contractors working for Pagemasters.
There will be job opportunities as AAP's shareholders and other external companies reorganise the way they receive news and page production services, a company statement read.
Editor-in-Chief Tony Gillies paid tribute to his team, describing them as "the most humble and hardest news people".
"We have had a place like no other in journalism. We exist for the public's interest and I now fear for the void left by the absence of AAP's strong, well- considered voice," Mr Gillies said.
Media and Entertainment Arts Alliance federal president Marcus Strom said the decision would leave a huge hole in Australia's news coverage.
"Filling those holes will fall to already overburdened newsroom journalists. Or coverage will simply cease to occur," he said.
"AAP has also trained generations of journalists and has been an excellent start for many of Australia's top journalists. It is reckless and short-sighted of media bosses to jettison this wonderful media institution.
"To lose AAP is to deny Australians across the nation of essential news and information."