Emma Cowdroy has been appointed CEO of the newly-formed Australian Associated Press (AAP), becoming the only woman in the world to currently run a news agency.
Cowdroy, previously the AAP’s group general counsel, has worked at the organisation for almost 20 years.
Her appointment comes as the 85-year-old AAP has been saved from closure, following the finalisation of its sale to a consortium of philanthropists and investors on Monday.
In March, majority shareholders News Corp and Nine Entertainment pulled out of the newswire, saying the continuation of the organisation was “unsustainable.” Closure was due to take place on June 26, leaving 180 staff without jobs.
The new newswire, headed by Cowdroy, will employ 85 staff and is set to launch on August 1.
Just in: AAP has officially signed off on a formal agreement to sell the newswire to a consortium of impact investors and philanthropists. It will launch on August 1. #saveAAP— Benita Kolovos 🐯 (@benitakolovos) June 29, 2020
“This is not only great news, but it’s vital for our democracy, as public-interest journalism is more important than ever,” Cowdroy said of the sale.
“Fast, factual reporting, objective news and geographical reach to all corners of Australia, is our DNA.”
The consortium of philanthropists and investors released a statement on Monday, detailing their common goal to protect media diversity.
“A desire to protect media diversity in Australia through ensuring the long-term sustainability of the AAP newswire and its provision of independent, quality journalism on issues that should matter to all Australians,” the group said in a statement.
The new newswire will focus on content spanning breaking news, politics, sport, major events and issues of public interest, plus photography and a fact checking service.
The sale of AAP and Cowdroy’s appointment as chief executive serve as a small bright spot in an increasingly bleak media landscape.
“In our 85-year history, AAP has told millions of stories,” Cowdroy said on Monday. “But today’s story of the news agency’s survival is one of the best ever.”
“The successful sale has ensured that the AAP Newswire, at times a little-known national treasure, will continue to deliver news content for all Australians.”
“More importantly, the backers and the board are united in a vision to continue AAP’s critical role as the source of truly independent, unbiased national news.”