Posted in Announcements

Anna Johnson named news director for Europe, Africa

, by Lauren Easton

AP Executive Editor Sally Buzbee announced a key appointment Thursday: Anna Johnson, currently news director for the U.S. West, will direct coverage of Europe and Africa.

Here is her memo to staff: 

Colleagues, Ian and I are very pleased to announce that Anna Johnson will become Europe/Africa news director at year’s end, moving from her current job as news director of the U.S. West to take on one of AP’s biggest and most critical leadership roles. Europe is the home of a large and exceptionally talented AP staff, one of the globe’s most compelling range of stories, and also some of AP’s biggest and most important customers. Anna brings a wealth of energy and experience, as one of our most talented and inspirational field leaders, to this challenging new assignment.
News Director for Europe and Africa Anna Johnson. (AP Photo)
Anna, who worked in the Middle East for AP for three years, has gained the respect of journalists across formats because of the way she thinks about stories.
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 speed and competitiveness on some of the world’s biggest spot stories, while also doing some of our most ambitious cross-format storytelling. Journalists from all formats have had the chance to run big spot stories, from the recent devastating wildfires to the Las Vegas mass shooting to the immigration crisis at the border, while also developing top-notch deeper journalism such as the photo-driven West Coast homeless project. Anna also led the launch of the first U.S. regional video hub, an important first step toward expanding AP’s global video production, editing and filing capacity. She sees challenges as opportunities, not obstacles, and is collaborative in nature – working to empower a generation of leaders in the West who have helped her shape the future there. Anna will have much to learn about the big stories and customers across Europe, and we are confident our strong teams in London, Berlin, Paris, Athens, Madrid, Prague, Moscow, the Balkans and other locations will partner with her in the most successful of ways. Anna will be in London briefly in mid-December to begin diving in and will relocate there with her husband after the new year. A few words about Anna’s background: She has been based in Phoenix since 2014, first as deputy West regional editor and then as news director, and has previous experience as an AP reporter, editor and newsroom leader in the United States and in the Middle East. Anna, 42, joined AP in 2004 as a reporter in Chicago. From 2006 to 2009 she was a reporter and editor based in Cairo, traveling throughout the region to cover Iranian elections and the Iraq war, among other stories.  In 2009, Anna became the assistant editor on the AP's Central editing desk in Chicago, where she was part of a team that won awards for deadline reporting for coverage of the Joplin, Missouri, tornado and the shooting at a military base in Fort Hood, Texas. After transferring to the West region, she led award-winning breaking news coverage of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting and last year’s deadly wildfires in California’s wine country and was a core leader of AP's 2016 and 2018 campaign and elections coverage. She also led coverage earlier this month of the deadliest wildfire in California history. Anna has a bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri and a master's from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.