Australia’s AAP Newswire will close after 85 years of supplying content to national and global newspapers, broadcast outlets and digital editions.
The business was 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, Seven West Media and Australian Community Media.
‘Journalism’s first responder’
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.
‘The number of organisations choosing to no longer rely on the AAP service has made the business unsustainable.’
In addition, there are about 100 freelance photographers.
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 have had a place like no other in journalism,” Gillies said.
“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.”