Australian Associated Press wire reports own closure as bosses blame rise of 'free online content'

Australian Associated Press wire reports own closure as bosses blame rise of 'free online content'

The Australian Associated Press newswire has reported its own closure.

Management at the agency said the wire, which has run for 85 years, is “no longer viable in the face of increasing free online content”.

Some 180 editorial jobs will be lost as a result, with hundreds more to fall at its subsidiaries, the agency reported today.

The AAP newswire, which sits at the heart of the company and is equivalent to PA in the UK, will transmit its last stories on 26 June.

AAP’s Pagemasters editorial production service, which employs hundreds of people, will close at the end of August.

The agency also runs a creative hub, AAP Studio, PR division Medianet, media analysis agency Mediaverse and sports data firm Megaform.

AAP is jointly owned by a number of media companies. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp Australia and broadcast network Nine are majority shareholders.

National publisher The West Australian and regional publisher Australian Community Media also hold shares in the company.

AAP chairman and News Corp executive Campbell Reid described the newswire as “journalism’s first responder” in Australia.

“It is a great loss that professional and researched information provided by AAP is being substituted with the unresearched and often inaccurate information that masquerades as real news on the digital platforms,” he said.

Reid said the business had become “unsustainable” as a result of the number of organisations choosing to no longer rely on its service.

He said shareholders were left with little option but to close the newswire.

AAP provided reporting on general news, courts, politics, finance, entertainment, travel, racing and sport, as well as images and video, serving news publishers in Australia and abroad.

AAP editor-in-chief Tony Gillies described his team as “the most humble and hardest news people”.

“We have had a place like no other in journalism,” he 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.”