The chief executive of the new AAP Emma Cowdroy has launched a GoFundMe campaign to boost the revenue base at the newswire.
The initial target is $500,000 with Cowdroy pointing out to Australians:
“Quality journalism doesn’t come for free and Australian Associated Press needs help to maintain the nation’s balance of fair, objective reporting – a bastion of our democratic life.
“AAP, a national treasure, is under new governance, operating as a not-for-profit company dedicated to covering news for all Australians.
“AAP journalists and photographers are the quiet achievers and first responders in Australian media. You might not know us by name but undoubtedly you would have read, heard or seen our articles – millions of them across our 85-year history. With no political axe to grind, nor advertisers to please, we are independent, trusted, accurate and consistent.
“We operate in an era of unprecedented disruption, national emergency and consolidating media ownership. Australians need AAP’s uncompromising focus on delivering facts fast more than ever. AAP plays a vital role in preserving Australia’s media diversity and is an essential piece of democratic infrastructure.
“AAP has a shared audience of more than five million. We provide hundreds of stories and images every day to hundreds of trusted newspaper, website and radio outlets across Australia. AAP’s domestic content is also beamed to other media around the world.
“The costs of collecting, covering and distributing national news are high. That’s why Sir Keith Murdoch and John Fairfax put their rivalries aside to build AAP in 1935, and the economic logic remains the same.”
Cowdroy noted that AAP is now competing in a market with new options for publishers.
“News Corp has announced its intention to rapidly re-enter the commercial sector under the NCA newswire brand. The well-funded move threatens AAP’s unique role, supplying independent content.
“While the consequences of the first ever competition in the newswire market are uncertain, it will create further disruption to AAP, and in turn the media market more generally, at a time when the industry is on its knees. Some of Australia’s oldest regional and local newspapers have closed. A growing number of areas in regional Australia are becoming news deserts.
“Our daily news service and historic text and image archive play an essential role in maintaining many of Australia’s media outlets, as well as supporting the ability of new players to enter the market. This is the diversity of voice that AAP wants to help protect and encourage.”
Cowdroy added: “We have launched a crowdfunding campaign so that all Australians can help AAP deliver its commitment to media diversity.
“As our media customers struggle in the toughest advertising market in modern history and as the government struggles to find a way to support media competition and diversity, we are reaching out to all Australians for their help.
“Of course, crowdfunding will only ever be one part of our income but we are prepared to try many things to get us through this tumultuous time. We want to diversify our revenue base as much as possible so we have a sustainable future. When you support AAP, you help protect an essential building block of media diversity.
“The more support we receive from Australians, the more stories about Australians we can cover. And as CEO of AAP I’m determined for our team to cover as many Australian stories as we can.”