The Australian Associated Press (AAP) national news agency announced Tuesday it is shutting down in June after 85 years in business, citing a sharp decrease in subscribers and free distribution of news content on digital platforms.
The AAP was launched in 1935 in Sydney by Keith Murdoch, the father of News Corp. founder and current executive chairman of 21st Century Fox and Fox News Rupert Murdoch.
“The saddest day: AAP closes after 85 years of excellence in journalism,” AAP editor-in-chief Tony Gillies said in a tweet.
The saddest day: AAP closes after 85 years of excellence in journalism. The AAP family will be sorely missed. @AAPNewswire— Tony Gillies (@TonyGillies) March 3, 2020
The country's leaders lamented the AAP being shut down.
“When you have such an important institution such as AAP coming to an end ... that is a matter of real concern,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament.
“Today is a tragedy for our democracy," echoed opposition leader Anthony Albanese.
The AAP’s more than 170 journalists will cease operations by June 26.
“We are obviously devastated by the news,” Canberra bureau chief Paul Osborne said.
The news comes as American newspapers also have been hit by the changing ways consumers get their news, primarily through inexpensive or free digital means.
Last year, New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet issued a dire warning that "most local newspapers are going to die in the next five years."
"The greatest crisis in American journalism is the death of local news," Baquet said at the International News Media Association World Congress in New York in May. "I don't know what the answer is.”
"Their economic model is gone. I think most local newspapers in America are going to die in the next five years, except for the ones that have been bought by a local billionaire," Baquet continued.
"I think that everybody who cares about news — myself included, and all of you — should take this on as an issue," he added. "Because we’re going to wake up one day and there are going to be entire states with no journalism or with little tiny pockets of journalism."