Gary Pruitt starts his job as Associated Press president

Gary Pruitt

Former McClatchy chief executive Gary Pruitt joins the Associated Press today as its new president and he promises employees “to be honest and open.” He says the AP’s work is more than noble in these times: “It is critically important in today’s world where news seemingly moves at the speed of light and has the power to bring down governments and rattle markets.”

He makes that point with the coverage of the Supreme Court’s Obamacare ruling:

In the rush to try and be first some of our competitors were flat wrong about the fate of a law that will affect millions of Americans. AP got it right. In fact, we were also among the very first to get it out there – but accuracy and fairness should always trump speed.

Read his memo after the jump.


Sent: Monday, July 09, 2012 11:14 AM
Subject: Message from AP President Gary Pruitt

July 9, 2012

Hello, AP colleagues:

I’m excited to join you today as AP’s new president. There is no media organization with more purpose and commitment, and I look forward to helping further that mission.

In the past I have called the work of AP noble. But it’s more than that. It is critically important in today’s world where news seemingly moves at the speed of light and has the power to bring down governments and rattle markets. That kind of power must be used judiciously. The recent ruling on health care by the U.S. Supreme Court is a case in point. In the rush to try and be first some of our competitors were flat wrong about the fate of a law that will affect millions of Americans. AP got it right. In fact, we were also among the very first to get it out there – but accuracy and fairness should always trump speed. In Syria, where AP has shot more video than any other news organization, our user-generated video is comprehensively vetted before it goes out. Customers know they can trust our work. That makes upholding AP’s news values not only the right thing to do but an essential element of our success. You have my word that I will support our mission to speak truth to and about power, hold governments accountable and show all sides of the story.

Assuring that we can continue this vital mission is my priority. Like most media organizations, AP faces some serious business and financial challenges. I will quickly turn my attention to them. On the revenue side many of our traditional clients are confronting increasing competition and declining profits, which has had a ripple effect on our own revenue. To deal with that we need to broaden our thinking about products, customers and business models. At the same time we will have to be vigilant about costs. Our pension plans are AP’s single largest financial obligation over the next several years, and I am committed to fully funding them. With the advantages of a broad geographic base, content in every format and an immensely talented staff, I am confident we can meet these challenges.

Over the next few months I’ll start visiting bureaus and customers to get a deeper picture of our global reach and opportunity. In two weeks I’ll be in London to see AP in action covering the Olympics and to meet with the many key customers who will be there as well. In the fall I’ll visit Asia, and staff and customers there. I hope that eventually I meet every one of you in AP’s wide world.

Under Tom Curley, AP has transformed from a traditional wire service agency to a multimedia digital news organization. The hard work of all of you over the past years has brought the company to a pivotal point where we are ready to offer our members and customers capabilities that would have been hard to imagine a decade ago. I think I speak for all of us in thanking Tom for what he has done to position us for the future.

I’m thrilled to take over the leadership of AP as it moves forward in this new age. I have a lot to learn, I know, and will be calling on you for your insight and expertise. In turn I promise to be honest and open and keep you informed along the way. Together we can build on AP’s long legacy and guarantee our vital role as the first choice for trusted news.

Gary Pruitt

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