In the end it happened with a whimper.
On an ordinary Wednesday morning, directors and shareholders of Australian Associated Press (AAP) met at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to stick the final nail in the wire service’s coffin.
As Crikey reported on Monday, the meeting was held to pass a change to AAP’s constitution which would cement its closure from June 26.
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But for such a momentous day in Australia’s media history, there was little fanfare or media attention. Much of this was by design. AAP did not want the meeting made public.
Yesterday, AAP’s general counsel told Crikey in an email the EGM would not be open to reporters. That was confirmed when Crikey showed up at AAP’s offices at Rhodes, in Sydney’s north west this morning, and was refused entry to the secured floor.
Editor-in-chief Tony Gillies said the wire service’s own reporters wouldn’t be covering the meeting. The one AAP staffer Crikey bumped into worked in IT and knew nothing about the meeting. Neither did the doorman in the building’s lobby.
Any hope AAP directors might face a barrage of inconvenient media questioning ahead of the critical meeting was quickly dashed.
No reporters or TV cameras from other outlets were to be found loitering around the building. No doubt more potential news events will look like this — empty and devoid of press coverage — when the wire shuts down for good in June.
There was also no sign of any of Nine’s AAP board representatives, who could have potentially scuppered the wire service’s closure at today’s meeting by voting against the constitutional change.
Whether to avoid scrutiny, or the inconvenience of making the trip out to Rhodes for a short meeting, they appeared to have phoned it in.
There was no sign the Australian media landscape was about to become a whole lot poorer. Just a half-empty lobby in a drab office block well outside of the Sydney CBD.
It was business as usual.