New AP Bureau Set To Widen Coverage

RIYADH, 13 June 2008 — In a move to boost its regional presence and ensure wider coverage of the Kingdom, The Associated Press has opened a multimedia news bureau in Riyadh and appointed veteran Middle East correspondent Donna Abu-Nasr as bureau chief. Kathleen Carroll, senior vice president and executive editor, arrived here from New York to attend the opening ceremony.

“We are absolutely delighted to be here,” said Carroll. “AP has fulfilled all necessary regulatory provisions to open its bureau and we thank the local Saudi government agencies for extending all necessary support.”

AP has 243 bureaus in 97 countries around the world. The reception to mark the bureau’s opening was attended by a number of Saudi officials, royal family members, Shoura Council members, local diplomats, PR executives and a number of local newsmen.

The bureau, Carroll said, would function aggressively and smoothly under Abu-Nasr, who joined the AP in Beirut in October 1987. Abu-Nasr went on to report from Kuwait, Cairo, the Gaza Strip and Washington before winding up in Lebanon where, for the past several years, she has covered Saudi Arabia extensively.

“Riyadh will be an important bureau as Middle East remains a highly volatile area; the effects of rising oil prices and tensions in the Arab world motivated the strategic move,” she said. “Having an ongoing presence in such a vital country will increase the AP’s ability to have far-reaching and in-depth coverage of the important and booming Gulf region as it becomes even more key to world stability.”

The AP vice president said that an AP photographer and staff for AP Television News had been deployed in Riyadh to work with Abu-Nasr to provide comprehensive coverage of the Kingdom. “Based on her lengthy experience in the region and the contacts she has developed over the years, Abu-Nasr is uniquely qualified to carry out this groundbreaking mission,” said Carroll.

Carroll said the AP generally weighs newsworthiness against cultural or religious issues. For example, when the AP obtained copies of the controversial Danish newspaper cartoons that profoundly insulted Muslims worldwide, it was Carroll who decided not to release the images on the AP wire. “We don’t distribute content that is known to be offensive,” she said. “AP style has always been to be fair and accurate, and we change terminology from time to time to ensure accuracy.”

The AP is the largest and oldest news organization in the world, serving as a source of news, photos, graphics, audio and video. It is a nonprofit news cooperative funded by member newspaper subscription fees.

“Leading newspapers of the Middle East region like Arab News have been using our services and taking our stories on a daily basis,” said Carroll.

AP has received 49 Pulitzer prizes, more than any other news organization in the categories for which it can compete. It has 30 Pulitzers for photography, the most of any news organization. The AP was founded in 1846.

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