Tom Curley, President and CEO of the Associated Press announced that he is stepping down today, and that the AP’s board has began the search for his replacement.
“The challenge for anybody running a media company these days can be described in one word, and it’s ‘revenue’,” says Curley in the above video. “Finding the new products that keep you relevant that drive new types of revenue, is absolutely the challenge.”
“Tom Curley was the perfect leader to guide AP through the roughest times the media industry has ever seen,” said William Dean Singleton, chairman of the AP Board of Directors. “He was a visionary who understood the need for AP to quickly adapt to new digital times, a transformative leader who created innovative new business opportunities for our industry and an indefatigable newsman who made sure AP remained the definitive trusted source for breaking news.”
“I told the board some time ago when I would be retiring, but it is hard to think about leaving this special organization,” said Curley. “There is this passion, this commitment to journalism in its purest form that makes it unique on the planet. Nowhere else does anyone have such a direct opportunity to commit journalism and have as much impact as they do here. I got to be a part of it, and play a role in its mission to break news first from around the world. I’ve been honored to work for AP.”
Curley is credited with “charting AP’s move into the digital space”. Interestingly, the AP’s interaction with that space has been the subject of a great deal of criticism over the years, as the AP has battled news aggregation and linking to their content.
It will be interesting to see Curley’s replacement’s approach in this area. The Huffington Post shared an email Curley sent to AP Staff. In that, he says:
The battles we have fought – for accountability by elected and appointed leaders, for the protection of content often obtained at personal price or for leading the evolution in how the public is informed – will require your vigilance long after I leave. I have enjoyed the fight, and been grateful for your inspired support. No place is better equipped to continue it than AP.
While these are turbulent times in media, AP is in a good place to make a transition. Our biggest projects, including new technology platforms and creative new products, will start rolling out over the next weeks. Nearly all major contracts are signed. We have one of the most tested and innovative management teams in media. And we are fortunate to be guided by a board composed of savvy leaders thoroughly committed to extending AP’s mission and upholding its values.
On that note about new technology platforms, the AP is heavily involved with NewsRight, content “protection” platform that 29 news organizations teamed up on. We’re still waiting to see how that plays out. It’s already drawn comparisons to Righthaven, though NewsRight rejects such comparisons.