The Associated Press on Thursday named Anna Johnson as its news director for Europe and Africa, selecting a veteran leader of journalists with experience reporting from around the world to lead its coverage of two continents.
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Johnson is currently the cooperative's news director for the western United States. Her appointment was announced by Sally Buzbee, AP's senior vice president and executive editor, and Ian Phillips, the news agency's vice president and deputy managing editor for international news. Johnson will start her new role in December.
"Anna has gained the respect of journalists across formats because of the way she thinks about stories," Buzbee said in a message to AP's global news staff. "She knows that the success of all-formats leadership lies in turning to and trusting our experts. Because of that, the West has excelled on both spot coverage and deeper journalism."
As all-formats news director for Europe and Africa, Johnson will lead the team of field video journalists, photographers and reporters, as well as producers and editors, who cover daily breaking news and strive to deliver distinctive and richly reported enterprise and explanatory journalism to AP's customers in the region and around the world.
AP's Europe and Africa region includes journalists in more than five dozen cities spread across a territory stretching from Moscow to London to Cape Town. Johnson will be based in London, where the region's editing desk and international video news operation is located.
"Anna will bring enthusiasm, insights and a proven track record success of management and leadership of some of the world's top stories in all formats," Phillips said. "Coverage of Europe and Africa are critically important to AP's customers and Anna's team will guarantee success."
Johnson, 42, joined AP as a reporter in Chicago in 2004. From 2006 to 2009, she was a reporter and editor based in Cairo, reporting throughout the Middle East, including covering the 2009 Iranian presidential election from Tehran.
Later that year, she returned to Chicago as the assistant editor in the AP's Central Region, where she was part of the team that won awards for deadline and breaking news reporting, including for AP's reporting from tornado strikes in Joplin, Missouri, and Oklahoma City, and the shooting at Fort Hood, Texas.
She has been based in Phoenix since 2014, first as deputy West Regional editor and then as news director. In that role, Johnson led award-winning breaking news coverage of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting and several years of deadly wildfires in California.
Johnson has a bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri and a master's degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
"I am thrilled and humbled at the opportunity to work with such an experienced and talented team of journalists in Europe and Africa at such a pivotal and interesting time," Johnson said.