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Tom Curley

Award Year: 
2009
Recipient Name: 
Tom Curley
Brief Summary: 
Tom Curley is president and chief executive officer of The Associated Press. He is the 12th person to head The AP since its founding in 1846.
Biography: 

Tom Curley is president and chief executive officer of The Associated Press. He is the 12th person to head The AP since its founding in 1846.

As part of Curley’s strategy for the digital age, he has charted an international plan to drive content and new business. A first milestone was the creation of a multimedia database that allows all AP content to be searched by AP journalists and customers. AP has added content for finance, online video and entertainment audiences.

He also has established programs to encourage and celebrate exceptional journalism. The AP was the first western news agency to open a bureau in Pyongang, North Korea, and it has added staff in Latin America, Asia and the Mideast, including Iraq, where AP has more than a hundred journalists. Among recognition during his tenure are the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography, awarded to AP for its work in Iraq, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography, awarded to AP for a West Bank photo.

In October 2007, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press presented Curley with a First Amendment Award. RCFP said he was selected because of his work encouraging media organizations to fight for the public’s right to know what’s going on in government. In March 2008, he received the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation’s First Amendment Leadership Award for his role in pushing for more openness in government and for emphasizing reporting on First Amendment issues.

Before joining the Associated Press, Curley was president and publisher of USA Today. From 1998 he was also senior vice president of the newspaper’s owner, Gannett Co., Inc., publisher of 100 daily newspapers in the United States. Under Curley’s leadership, USA Today circulation grew to more than 2.3 million copies a day.

Curley was the original news staffer on the project that led to the creation of USA Today. He was assigned in 1979 by then-Gannett Chairman Al Neuharth to study the feasibility of a national newspaper. He later worked in every department of the newspaper. In 1986, he became the newspaper’s sixth president and in 1991, added the title of publisher.

Curley began his journalism career at the age of 15, covering high school basketball for his hometown Easton (Pa.) Express. He continued working for newspapers during college, and joined Gannett’s Rochester (N.Y.) Times-Union in 1972 as night city/suburban editor. He became director of information for Gannett in 1976 and began coordinating Gannett’s newspaper research projects, which produced more than 50,000 interviews on media use. He became editor of Gannett’s Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin in 1982 and publisher of The Courier-News at Bridgewater, N.J., in 1983 before returning to USA Today in 1985.

Curley holds a political science degree from Philadelphia’s La Salle University and a master’s degree in business administration from Rochester Institute of Technology.

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