The Morrison government has given AAP a $5m lifeline. This decision comes after AAP said that it was struggling financially amid an appeal to the public for money.
The funding comes from the Public Interest News Gathering (PING) program which is designed to boost the media industry.
The minister for communications, Paul Fletcher gave 107 regional broadcasters and publishers $50m under the Ping program in June. The government extended the program from $50m to $55m for AAP, which applied in August due to being ineligible prior to the companies sale.
Fletcher, said of the announcement:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered unprecedented challenges for Australia’s regional media sector, with severe declines in advertising revenue threatening the sustainability of many news outlets,” Fletcher said on Friday.
“The AAP newswire provides services to more than 250 regional news mastheads across Australia, covering public interest content on national, state and regional news. This allows regional mastheads to concentrate on local news stories important for their communities.”
This follows chief executive of the new AAP Emma Cowdroy (pictured) launching a GoFundMe campaign to boost the revenue base at the newswire. With an initial target of $500,000.
Emma Cowdroy said: “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.”