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New owners say AAP driven by diversity, quality journalism

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The new owners of Australian Associated Press say they are driven by a desire to protect the country’s media diversity and support quality journalism.

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A consortium of philanthropists and investors on Monday finalised a deal with current shareholders, including Nine and News Corp, to purchase the AAP newswire which has been operating for more than 85 years.

Following an announcement in March that the newswire would close, the consortium was concerned about the impact on Australian journalism.

A statement from the group on Monday said its members shared a common goal to protect media diversity.

“We feel the best way to do this is to ensure the long-term sustainability of the AAP newswire and its provision of independent, quality journalism on issues that matter to all Australians,” the statement said.

The consortium, led by Nick Harrington, is made up of several people, including philanthropist John McKinnon, and has been supported by senior media executive Peter Tonagh.

The new-look AAP, directed by CEO Emma Cowdroy and editor Andrew Drummond, will continue to produce content including breaking national and world news, sport, court and political reporting, plus photography and a FactCheck service.

Cowdroy, who has previously worked as AAP’s senior legal counsel, said she was excited about what the future held for the newswire.

“This is not only great news, but it’s vital for our democracy, as public-interest journalism is more important than ever,” she said.

“Fast, factual reporting, objective news and geographical reach to all corners of Australia, is our DNA.”

The new owners have committed to retain scores of the current AAP workforce, but there will be job losses. Changes to the business are expected to be finalised ahead of settlement on July 31.

Other parts of the AAP Group will be retained by the current shareholders. This includes Medianet, Mediaverse, AAP Directories, Pagemasters and Racing operations.

-AAP

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