Jonty Low has been appointed Chair of the new Australian Associated Press (AAP) board, joining recently appointed CEO Emma Cowdroy at the helm of the newswire.
Low will be the first woman to chair the board of AAP in its 85-year history. Her appointment comes after 20 men have previously filled the role.
The new AAP, which was saved from closure in June by a consortium of philanthropists and investors, officially changed hands last week. Previous majority shareholders, Newscorp and Nine, announced they were pulling out of the newswire in March, saying it was “unsustainable” to continue.
Jonty Low, a businesswoman who has spent 10 years running the Committee for Sydney, played a major role in saving the newswire from closure. She was brought in to help facilitate its sale to the new group of investors.
Low doesn’t have a background in media, but has vast experience in strategy, funds management and business advocacy. Her input was vital to sealing the sale of AAP.
“I want to make sure that my nieces and nephews and their children grow up with access to independent journalism, like I had the privilege to do,” Low said.
“I didn’t like the idea that AAP could be closed. It was too valuable. It would be like losing Qantas – there are some things that people know and trust and AAP is one of them. Now more than ever independent journalism is essential.”
When AAP CEO Emma Cowdroy was appointed to head up the newswire at the end of June, she became the only woman in the world to run a news agency. Low’s appointment is another significant move for AAP and signals a fresh start.
“I don’t come from a newspaper background, but the modern media landscape is so much more diverse than newspapers, and the funding structure of AAP2.0 is so different,” Low said about her appointment.
“My background will help bring fresh eyes to the old and new problems we face.”