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The saving of AAP Newswire
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The saving of AAP Newswire
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The saving of AAP Newswire
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Articles
30 June 2020

The saving of AAP Newswire

Celebrating a win for Australian journalism

Written by Kaj Löfgren

Behind extraordinary ideas, there are extraordinary people. Dumbo Feather is a magazine about these people.

Discussed in this Story

Earlier this year the established forces in Australia’s media landscape decided to close down the Australia Associated Press (AAP) Newswire service. The AAP Newswire is a critical piece of infrastructure in our media landscape and our democratic system. It provides unbiased, independent news coverage that other media organisations then publish and distribute. It has been largely owned by Newscorp and Fairfax, and earlier this year they decided to shut it down, fire all the journalists, and internalise this function—thereby dramatically reducing journalistic independence in Australia and also robbing smaller publications (often regional) of an independent news source.

This was another bleak moment for Australian journalism. Time after time in recent years Australian journalism has been hit with job losses, consolidations and funding cuts. The closure of AAP Newswire seemed like just another crushing blow to the fourth estate. However, this wasn’t just another moment like all the others. When the news of AAP’s closure was announced, a small group of people—led by our friend and partner John McKinnon—quietly came together to see if they could acquire AAP, retain its independence, save the jobs of the journalists who work there and prevent the further centralisation of Australia’s media. After a rollercoaster negotiation and a flurry of innovative fundraising, they have been successful. Unfortunately, not all AAP jobs will be saved, but many will be. And importantly, a renewed AAP (now owned by a newly established non-profit) will remain part of Australia’s media landscape. 

In a world with so many rising challenges (especially in the context of media and democracy) it is important to acknowledge and celebrate our wins. The saving of AAP is a wonderful example of a group of people dedicating themselves to a cause, thinking laterally and bringing together a unique coalition of partners to achieve an unlikely result. Our democracy is weakened when independent media is reduced and there is no doubt this is a critical win. The work continues of course but we are all grateful to John and his team for delivering this deeply impactful intervention in a difficult year.

 

Small Giants is proud to be a small part of the consortium that has recently acquired the Australia Associated Press (AAP) Newswire service. 

Kaj Löfgren

Kaj (pronounced Kai) is the Director of The School of Life (TSOL) Australia, which includes branches in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. TSOL is a secular organisation that is devoted to developing emotional intelligence through the help of culture. TSOL runs classes, workshops and major events, and also publishes books, creates films, and produces a range of objects & tools that can assist you in the quest for a more fulfilled life. TSOL also runs a consulting and training service for business that is designed to enhance emotional intelligence and psychological maturity in the workplace.

Prior to this Kaj served as the Director of Strategy at Small Giants. Small Giants invests in businesses that are shifting us to a more socially equitable and environmentally sustainable world. Trained as a Civil Engineer, Kaj has also worked with Engineers Without Borders and Engineers Australia. He lives in Melbourne’s inner-west with his wife and young son.

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