The Brexit break-up has dominated Europe for months. Audience demands are high for each development, yet it’s hard for any news organization to stand out because so many media outlets are pursuing the same stories.
But AP’s Brexit team showed itself ready for the challenge by combining exceptional planning and reporting skills to deliver extraordinary coverage in every format during a crucial week in which the European Union and the British Parliament were set to decide the UK’s future in Europe. In the process, they dominated on a very competitive story with ambitious and comprehensive coverage.
It all started with the approach. In addition to responding to spot developments, the team, working with many other staff and freelancers in London and from other European cities, set out to provide customers with thoughtful political analysis and colorful character-driven stories while also explaining what was happening in a way that was easily understood.
London political reporter Jill Lawless delivered fantastic explanatory journalism that broke down the complications of Brexit during an especially confusing time, as did Greg Katz, who leads the London bureau in text, breaking out spot-on stories while making sure AP’s stories didn’t get lost in political jargon.
Stockholm-based video journalist David Keyton, on assignment at the Irish border, worked with London reporter Danica Kirka and freelance photographer Peter Morrison to produce a complex and visually compelling all-formats story about why there is so much concern over Brexit in Northern Ireland — especially over how an EU-UK customs border might take shape. This story and other coverage from Northern Ireland during the week benefited greatly from Keyton’s efforts to build sources in Ireland and Northern Ireland, where it can be challenging for outside media to convince people to talk and share their stories.
Meanwhile, London photo editor Martin Cleaver worked tirelessly plotting out where photographers should be positioned to give AP superior coverage of massive protests in London while also coordinating closely with partner agency Press Association to guarantee the AP would have each moment in Parliament and outside 10 Downing covered.
In Brussels, the cross-format team of Benelux news editor Raf Casert, video journalist Sylvain Plazy and photo editor Virginia Mayo smartly planned how to best cover a sprawling EU Summit by focusing on the big moments and securing key interviews, including an exclusive on-camera interview with Europe’s lead Brexit negotiator. Their coverage never missed a beat in Brussels, where the pace of meetings and opportunities to get information are frantic and can happen at the last minute.
And finally, Europe and Africa planning head Susie Blann ensured that the AP led the way, especially in video, where she worked with staff and freelancers to plan how to get exclusive video and interviews in Ireland and Brussels, made sure the AP could provide compelling “beauty shots” and a time-lapse of London during the big week, and ensured the live video feeds were executed flawlessly.
The stories dominated websites and TV stations across Europe and beyond. Three videos had more than 1,000 hits each including the glamour shots of London streets. The photos, including those of politicians and of protesters, received wide play globally.
For collaborating in all formats to deliver lively, ambitious, insightful and comprehensive coverage of the Brexit drama and its implications for Britain, Ireland and the EU, Lawless, Kirka, Katz, Keyton, Casert, Mayo, Plazy, Cleaver and Blann earn AP’s Best of the Week honors.