The Australian Associated Press announced on Tuesday that it would be closing down in June, following a steady slide in subscription rates and an increase in free online content over the last few years. Founded in 1935, AAP is one of the largest news agencies in the country, with coverage in all states and territories and correspondents in multiple geographies. It provides text, images, and video on news to about 200 newspapers, broadcasters and websites.
However, like other traditional media outlets around the world, AAP has faced disruption and increased financial pressure from the shift towards online content and the rising new norm of consumers getting their news from social media. There have been several major staff cuts over the last few years, and in 2018 the company closed its New Zealand branch.
In a statement following the announcement, AAP CEO Bruce Davidson said that the business model was no longer viable, and the decision to close was purely economic and financial. He added that it was not an issue of the quality of AAP’s reporting, saying: “It certainly has little to do, in some ways, with the quality, the accuracy, the speed, and heritage of the AAP news operation over many, many years.”
AAP has over 500 employees, including about 180 journalists, all of whom will lose their jobs come June. While AAP’s shareholders, themselves major media firms such as Nine Entertainment and News Corp Australia, may employ some of the journalists, the company said in its announcement that there would be only 30 to 50 such jobs available. Davidson, in his follow-up statement, also said that with AAP’s closure, there would most likely be fewer journalists working in the Australian media landscape going forward.
Image source: NRZ