AAP has a new editorial structure as editor-in-chief Tony Gillies explains.
Crikey received this piece of rumour-mongering earlier in the week:

Check out the ructions at AAP. One of two deputies to editor-in-chief
Tony Gillies (ex of Rural Press) has been sidelined to take
charge of Sports and Racing while the other effectively is the newsroom
supremo, landing the plum role of overseeing News and Finance.

there’s the rise and rise of newsroom neophyte (about 2 years and age
twentysomething) from downtable sub to copy editor (one of about 10 and
almost the most junior), then last year to Foreign Editor and just last
week to one of three Filing Editor positions (two vacated by the
aforesaid deputies for higher duties), leapfrogging two other much more
senior News Editors to the role. At least one of the two sidelined news
editors is devastated. And the newsroom is all agog at the machinations
and wondering just how did Junior manage to rise so far so fast???

is promised under new ed-in-chief, with weekend editor role created and
to be filled – sounds more like confuse and divide tactics.”

We thought it seemed a little wide of mark so we emailed AAP Editor-in-chief Tony Gillies and this was his response:

The rationale behind AAP’s new structure

The old AAP structure included two news editors presiding over the
day-to-day running of the file.

Mike Osborne and Stuart Parker were across everything – driving coverage
through the bureau chiefs, working copy up to standard, controlling copy
flow, planning features, pushing out advisories and so it went on.

These are two of the most talented and hardest-working news people I’ve come
across in my 25 years in the business but as good as they are it was always
going to be difficult – perhaps impossible – to raise the standard and depth
of the service under such a stressful set-up.

There’s a need to instil more discipline into our editorial production
process (across all desks), into content planning and into subscriber

liaison. We’ve also identified growth opportunities in sport – things like results data and racing information.

The new structure splits the news operation in two – Stuart Parker is Head
of News and Finance, while Mike is Head of Sport and Racing.

The structure beneath Mike in Sport includes a sports editor a deputy
sports editor and a turf editor. Mike is not getting involved in the
day-to-day running of the sports and turf file so much but he is
reviewing all content
and procedures to ensure that what we’re doing is best for our
subscribers. He’s planning our big event coverage – like the 2004
Olympic Games, 2006 Commonwealth Games and the dozens of overseas
assignments our crews go on each year.

He’s also liaising with subscribers and sporting authorities.

Importantly, Mike is developing sport as a business – it’s no longer just
about producing news for Australia’s media.

The structure beneath Stuart is still being settled. There are two news
editors (Brian Rochford and Tracey Ferrier just appointed); the likelihood
of a third to add strength to our weekend coverage and to drive news
features; and a finance editor and deputy finance editor.

There’s a complex editorial production structure that also exists to process
news for print, broadcast and new media. All of this is under review with
the aim to provide a news service that is more relevant, that is delivered
faster, and is of a higher standard.

During these moves, AAP editor John Coomber requested he be moved aside so
he could resume his career as a writer. I was reluctant to lose his
management skill but given that he is one of the country’s best, his
appointment as our senior sports writer will add a much-appreciated
dimension to our sports file.

With the editor’s role out of the structure, the positions of Head of News
and Finance and Head of Sport and Racing are even more critical.

The roles are absolutely level-pegging. To suggest otherwise really is
offensive and demeans the value of Mike’s and Stuart’s contribution.

Both are involved in decisions affecting the whole news operation, making
welcomed input into each other’s area of responsibility.

In reviewing the new structures, careful consideration has been given
to internal candidates for positions and opportunities … and this
process is continuing.

Peter Fray

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