Hawaii correspondent Caleb Jones delivered two exclusive packages on the search for sunken Japanese war ships in northwestern Hawaii, first by convincing the search company to invite only the AP, and then singlehandedly producing the all-formats content from the research vessel.
How are you guaranteed to get an exclusive if and when researchers locate Japanese ships sunken during a World War II battle?
One sure way is to be the only journalist accompanying researchers aboard a vessel in the middle of nowhere in the Pacific. That is exactly what Hawaii correspondent Caleb Jones did. When the director of communications from Vulcan Inc., the company conducting the searches, reached out to Jones, she invited the AP and said she planned to invite several networks. Caleb then told her the AP would prefer to have it exclusively, making the time-honored pitch about AP’s global reach.
It worked. When the crew went to Midway Atoll in northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Jones was the only journalist with them; the networks and other organizations were ultimately not invited. Working at sea from the ship last week, Jones would have two exclusive all-formats stories.
The first was on the search itself, detailing how researchers were using remote-controlled submarines and sonar to find an initial ship. The second two days later was when Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi was located. For both packages, Jones wrote the stories, took the photos and shot the video, a truly all-formats effort.
Before going out, he also secured historical photos, further enriching the package. The play was very strong. The second story was used by more than 400 customers in 24 hours. Those clients included The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and most other major news organizations. The story was No. 11 globally on AP News in that span. And because of the story’s nature, the two video packages were used by Horizons, AP’s offering on technology and lifestyles.
For making a successful, spirited pitch about the AP’s reach, and following up with strong all-formats storytelling that led to worldwide exclusives, Caleb Jones wins this week’s Best of the States.