AAP to close after 85 years | radioinfo

AAP to close after 85 years

Tuesday 03 March, 2020

Editor in Chief of Australian Associated Press Tony Gillies announced the newswire’s closure around lunchtime on Twitter:
 

 
The saddest day: AAP closes after 85 years of excellence in journalism. The AAP family will be sorely missed
 
In a later statement he said:

“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.”

AAP was a well used source in many radio newsrooms, as well as across all other media. Journalists and media sources were quick to respond with their disappointment.

Myriam Robin from the AFR tweeted:

“Four years ago, AAP's editor-in-chief Tony Gillies told me about how the wire had doubled its court reporting to cover cuts in the rest of the media. Suspect Australia would have been in a worse place if it hadn't been there to do that

The ABC, MEAA and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews posted pictures and messages of support. Federal MP Tony Burke tweeted:

"AAP reporters have just turned up to cover Question Time. Having just learnt that their company is closing down they are back on the beat. When they’re gone there will be less scrutiny of this Parliament - and our democracy will be the poorer for it.”

Most poignant was Karen Sweeney from AAP tweeting:

“AAP's numbers yesterday - Our top 10 sport stories were published 1595 times. Our top 10 news stories were published 2514 times. That's 4109 blank spaces on websites and newspapers, dead air on radio that would need to be filled without us.”

180 journalists will lose their jobs with AAP’s last day being June 26.

 


 
 

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Anthony The Koala
4 March 2020 - 6:22am
The jettisoning of AAP is $5 million from a planned $100 million cut to Nine Media's budget. Cuts are a necessary part of business in order to survive. Currently Nine's FTA earnings are down 36% while its radio business's revenue dropped 63%. News Corp will cut $10 million from its costs.

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/nine-entertainment-plans-100m-in-cuts-as-free-to-air-struggles/news-story/668bc1be0df567ea8f8ea7962fe56daa (subscription needed)

https://mumbrella.com.au/australian-associated-press-to-close-in-june-619686

Sure some of the affected staff will be absorbed into Nine's and News Corp's newsroom. But not all.

https://www.9news.com.au/national/aap-closure-aap-newwire-pagemasters-job-losses-media-news/307f708f-2516-4ce6-b9d5-28ca5327d56a

AAP has been a great training ground for many aspiring journalists. "Great" means that the trainees were rotated in covering racing, finance, the courts and parliaments. Many of the court and parliamentary reports not covered by the main media providers have been provided by the journalists of AAP.

While 2GB's resident court reporter Gil Taylor covers the courts, will the staff absorbed into Nine Media from AAP cover those issues formerly covered by AAP such as the courts and parliaments? Remember that our parliaments report the laws made in parliament, the politics and machinations between various MPs and lobbyists while the courts interpret the laws and those who violate the laws.

Time will tell on whether reports from our parliaments and courts will continue in depth.

AAP's CEO Mr Bruce Davidson to "drop the axe" on AAP was due to the "...decline in the number of media companies subscribing to its services in recent years..."

https://www.9news.com.au/national/aap-closure-aap-newwire-pagemasters-job-losses-media-news/307f708f-2516-4ce6-b9d5-28ca5327d56a.

Mr Davidson's statement may well be valid. If AAP's revenues continue to decline due to media companies not supporting AAP's service, the business would not be viable.

Consequently there's the risk of media organisations not relying on AAP not using news sources as unverified. I stress the word "risk" as the AAP may not be the only source of verified news.

However, there may be a reputational risk of the particular media organisation if it uses unverified news. Taken to its extreme, you cannot rely on the truth of social media's production of news which may well bear false witness against God. The same could well be said of printed magazines.

The day that social media and some print magazines tell the truth will be the day that martians land in Canowindra and chooks lay square eggs. Unlikely.

It follows that there may well be one source of media that most Australians trust, that is our ABC. Like a person being regular from a high-fibre diet, the ABC is regularly under attack as it has been by News Corp for many decades.

The ABC funding model from appropriations from the Federal Parliament:
In 2018, the IPA wanted the ABC to be privatised,
https://ipa.org.au/ipa-today/ipa-urges-rethink-of-state-ownership-of-the-abc.

As recently as the 17th February 2020, there may be inspiration from No. 10 Downing St who want to change the funding model of the BBC from a licence to a subscription service.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-51530752

What is to stop a think tank in Australia wanting to change the ABC to a subscription model? The current BBC model allows for exemptions from the TV licence for people aged 75 and over. The subscription model does not provide for concessions.

The issue of bias especially in the ABC's coverage of "climate change" may well be a valid statement. But it is out of the scope of the topic. A separate topic on a proposed subscription method of funding the ABC could well address the topic of bias.

It is valid to say that the quality of news costs money. The ABC is no different. That's why the current funding model is an appropriation from the Federal Parliament. If the trend in private enterprise is to diminish the quality of the verifiability of news continues, the only source is the public good produced by our ABC.

Putting the ABC behind a paywall and subscription service is to put access to a public good in fewer hands.

Thank you,
Anthony of researching Belfield
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