After a mass shooting that killed nine people in Germany, our team's quick response, sharp news judgment and superior coordination ensured that AP’s coverage was far ahead of other agencies.
When a gunman opened fire on a café in a racially motivated attack last week, the AP team in Germany burst into action with an all-hands-on-desk effort that dominated coverage of this major story. The success included a huge win on live video, brisk filing of the breaking story, and AP photos landing on the front pages of major publications in Germany, the U.S. and elsewhere.
As news of the shooting in the town of Hanau, 21 kilometers (13 miles) east of Frankfurt, started trickling out shortly before midnight, photographer Michael Probst rushed to the scene and provided images that became front page illustrations for top German and international newspapers and magazines. Correspondents Geir Moulson and Frank Jordans worked together remotely from Berlin, filing alerts and urgents throughout the night while guarding against unverified reports and rumors.
Senior Video Producer Kerstin Sopke in Berlin quickly lined up a freelance video journalist in Frankfurt to head to the site of the shooting with a Live U, ensuring AP was alone among news agencies to go live. The AP’s live shot went up a whopping five hours before the competition did the same. Sopke also secured videos showing the crime scene and statements from police.
The effort was supplemented by a strong team effort from other corners of the AP as journalists interviewed survivors and members of Hanau’s immigrant community, wrote about the rise of far-right violence in Germany and followed the written trail left by the killer.
Play for the story was phenomenal. The most prominent German magazine, Der Spiegel, ran one of Probst’s photos on its front, as did one of Germany’s biggest daily newspapers. A single video edit from the site of the shooting was used more than 1,000 times by broadcast clients.
For their speed, smart news judgment and superior coordination that gave AP a massive lead on a big story as it broke, Probst, Moulson, Sopke and Jordans are AP’s Best of the Week winners.