The Associated Press announced today that Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll has decided to leave AP at the end of the year.
A search for the next executive editor will begin immediately, starting with the strong talent at AP. A successor is expected to be in place by Jan. 1, 2017.
Carroll, who has led AP's global news operations for 14 years, is announcing her decision now to offer sufficient time for that search. She said her plans after leaving AP include some long-postponed trips with her husband and joining in the family events leading up to their son's college graduation in the spring. "Plus, sleeping in on weekdays for a while," she added.
During her tenure, Carroll has led news coverage of conflicts across the Middle East, a wrenching global recession and its aftermath, four U.S. presidential elections, countless natural disasters as well as tales of human folly and endurance. Under her leadership AP journalists have won numerous awards, among them five Pulitzer Prizes, including the Pulitzer for Public Service, six George Polk Awards and 15 Overseas Press Club Awards.
"If AP were a sports team, we would be retiring Kathleen's number," said AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt. "She has been a major force in shaping the modern AP as a global, multiformat news leader. Under Kathleen's direction, AP produced not just the most comprehensive breaking news report in the world but also increasingly distinctive, investigative journalism."
Pruitt added: "Kathleen held herself and AP to the highest ethical standards, and she fought tirelessly for the safety of all journalists. I respect Kathleen's decision to step down. Her desire to help AP work through the news leadership transition is testimony to her commitment to the AP. We will miss Kathleen's many talents and wish her the best in the next chapter of her life."
"It is an extraordinary privilege to work with AP's talented journalists who dedicate themselves to bringing unbiased truth to the world," Carroll said. "They work tirelessly to uncover secrets, give voice to the voiceless and deliver compelling words and images from every corner of the globe. The AP is strong because of their devotion to our mission — essential independent journalism — and I look forward to cheering for them and their next editor."
Carroll has been responsible for news content in all formats from AP journalists based in more than 260 locations in 106 countries. She is an industry leader on government challenges to press freedom and on vital security issues for journalists in war zones and other hostile environments.
During her tenure the AP has significantly deepened its commitment to investigative and accountability reporting, expanded its footprint by establishing bureaus in North Korea, Myanmar and Saudi Arabia, transformed the newsroom from analog to digital, modernized video operations to high definition and pioneered the use of automation to free journalists for more substantive work. She pushed for modernity of the AP Stylebook, which went online, became a more flexible tool with new sections, such as fashion and food, and expanded with a valuable Spanish Stylebook.
Innovation on her watch extended to staff development as well. Early on, Carroll established Beat of the Week competitions that continue to allow talented AP journalists to share ideas for being competitive and innovative. She notably shifted the career development path for journalists outside the United States by moving AP away from an expatriate-management structure to one that includes talented local leaders as well as opportunities for people to lead outside their native formats of text, photos or video.
She currently serves as vice-chair of the Committee to Protect Journalists and in July 2013 was the first journalist to address the United Nations Security Council about journalist safety, an issue that was brought close to home too many times during her tenure. Nine AP journalists were killed on the job during that time, three were badly injured and numerous others were jailed, beaten and harassed simply for doing their jobs.
Carroll worked for the AP three different times over her career, most recently joining AP from Knight Ridder, where she was chief of the Washington and international bureaus. Before that she was an editor in AP's Washington bureau, at the San Jose Mercury News and at the International Herald Tribune, and a journalist for the AP in Texas, New Jersey and California. Carroll began her career at The Dallas Morning News, where she cut her teeth on the tough Dallas police beat while still an undergraduate at the University of Texas at Arlington.
She is a member of American Society of News Editors and Associated Press Media Editors and served on the Pulitzer Prize Board from 2003 to 2012, the last year as co-chair.