The Associated Press on Wednesday named Julie Pace, its Washington bureau chief, as its new top editor, a job that gives her oversight of a news organization with 250 bureaus in 100 nations.
Ms. Pace, 39, will immediately become The A.P.’s executive editor and senior vice president, succeeding Sally Buzbee, the company said. Ms. Buzbee left the organization, which she had led since 2017, to take the executive editor job at The Washington Post in May.
In a phone interview, Ms. Pace called The A.P. “a bit of an unsung hero of the journalism industry.”
“I understand that sometimes there is an outdated impression of The A.P. or a feeling like we’re just a basic wire service putting out choppy sentences,” she said. “If that is your impression of The A.P., then you haven’t been paying attention to The A.P. We produce just incredibly high-level, sophisticated reports across all formats every day.”
Ms. Pace is the third consecutive female executive editor of the 175-year-old news organization, which provides roughly 730,000 articles, 70,000 videos and one million photographs each year to the more than 15,000 outlets and businesses that subscribe to its content. Kathleen Carroll held the job from 2002 through 2016.
Ms. Pace, who is from Buffalo, joined The A.P. in 2007 as a video producer and multimedia political journalist after starting her career at a television network in South Africa and putting in a stint at The Tampa Tribune in Florida. She aspired to be an international correspondent working out of Africa, she said, but things turned out differently.
“I just really got into politics, and I’ve been in Washington ever since,” Ms. Pace said.
After serving as a White House correspondent, she became the Washington bureau chief in 2017. In that job, she expanded The A.P.’s fact-checking operation and published explanatory articles on how the news agency counts votes and projects the winners of presidential elections and local races, a role it has played since 1848.
“I’m really proud of the work that we did during that period to try to break through what ultimately ended up being a lot of disinformation,” Ms. Pace said, adding that The A.P.’s fact-checking articles “are consistently some of our most-viewed stories, almost every week.”
“Being a fact-based news organization does not mean that everybody on every side of an issue gets equal hearing, gets equal voice,” she continued. “In certain cases, the facts are just really clear, and we want to make sure that we are amplifying the facts and not muddying the facts. So Covid vaccines are safe. Climate change is real. There was no widespread fraud in the U.S. election. Those are not political positions; those are fact-based positions.”
Ms. Pace plans to move to the company’s home city, New York, with her husband and young child in the fall. She said she would focus on keeping The A.P. competitive on breaking news, while also making sure it digs up more stories of its own.
Daisy Veerasingham, The A.P.’s chief operating officer, who will become its president and chief executive in January, said in a statement that Ms. Pace’s Washington experience, background in video and connections with global staff would drive The A.P. “into the future.” Ms. Veerasingham also praised Ms. Pace’s “strong, collaborative leadership and exceptional news judgment.”
The A.P., which rarely attracts media attention for its inner workings, faced criticism this year from many journalists, including members of its own staff, when Emily Wilder, a young journalist in its Arizona bureau, was dismissed three weeks after she was hired.
A series of Twitter posts by Ms. Wilder on the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians attracted attention from the Stanford College Republicans and other online critics who publicized her pro-Palestine activism as a student at Stanford University. Ms. Pace said the episode had prompted internal discussions and a review, still in progress, of The A.P.’s social media policy and how the company handles the online harassment of its journalists.
“We’ll have more to say on those fronts soon,” she said. “People still look to The A.P. for things like The AP Stylebook to know how to use this word or this phrase. I want us to be seen similarly as a leader on social media usage and on online harassment.”
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