Australian Associated Press sells the AAP Newswire to a consortium of investors and philanthropists.
Last night it was confirmed that AAP has signed a formal agreement to sell the AAP Newswire to a consortium of impact investors and philanthropists. The "new" Newswire - still called AAP - will launch on August 1.
AAP’s current shareholders also have decided to retain three parts of the AAP Group operations - Pagemasters, Medianet/Mediaverse/Directories and Racing - with existing AAP chairman Bruce Davidson remaining as CEO of these divisions.
“I want to thank all AAP employees for the way you have endured the “roller coaster” of events over the past 4-5 months,” said Davidson last night. “Throughout that time, you have continued to carry out your duties and hardly missed a beat. Thank you.”
On behalf of the AAP board, Chairman Campbell Reid, has paid tribute to the professionalism of the AAP staff throughout the last few months:
“You have all stayed true to the spirit that the news is published no matter what, and this stands the new wire in great stead as it begins its next chapter. The board wishes the new team every success,” he said.
The leadership team includes AAP veteran and current Group General Counsel Emma Cowdroy as CEO and Andrew Drummond will continue as Editor.
“We are currently working on finalising the make-up of the team that will help write the next chapter of AAP’s history,” Emma Cowdroy commented last night. “The successful sale has ensured that the AAP Newswire, at times a little-known national treasure, will continue to deliver news content for all Australians. The backers and the board are united in a vision to continue AAP’s critical role as the source of truly independent, unbiased national news. It is a great privilege for me to lead such a valued and essential Australian news service. I am as passionate about the wire today as I was when I joined AAP almost 19 years ago. It is a shared passion. You only have to look at digital and social media over the past months to understand the impact AAP has on the lives of so many Australians.”
A statement from the group behind the purchase read, “The Consortium behind the purchase is a group of philanthropists and impact investors who share a common goal - a desire to protect media diversity in Australia. We feel the best way to do this is to ensure the long-term sustainability of the AAP Newswire and its provision of independent, quality journalism on issues that matter to all Australians.”
“We believe that this has never been more important to Australian society and were concerned about the impact that AAP’s closure would have had on independent journalism, on jobs and on the viability of new entrants to the media space.”
The consortium, which has also acquired the AAP FactCheck service, is made up of a number of philanthropists led by Nick Harrington, who takes on the role of AAP’s Head of Strategy and Development, and John McKinnon with support from Peter Tonagh.
The AAP Newswire will be owned by a not-for-profit entity which will be governed by a Board. It will also have an Industry Advisory Committee. The appointments to the Board and the Advisory Committee will be determined over the next few months after a rigorous nomination process.
“Some things won’t change,” the statement continued, “The organisation will continue to trade under the AAP brand and will continue to serve many of the existing customers with the stories and images that they have come to rely on. Many of the team will remain and many of the management roles will be filled by the existing team.”
Subscribe to Back Story updates