The AP’s Texas staff pushed through last week’s winter storm coverage with top-notch storytelling even as many suffered hardship of their own.
When deadly subfreezing temperatures, snow and ice smacked much of the southern U.S., it knocked out the power grid in Texas, the nation’s energy capital — and that was only the beginning. The bursting pipes, boil water advisories and accusations of price-gouging that followed would only exacerbate the suffering for millions left shivering while nearly 80 people died.
AP reporters showed in spot and enterprise stories that everything came down to a failure of government, particularly in Texas and neighboring Deep South states where infrastructure breakdowns revealed how unprepared much of the nation is for extreme weather.
All this happened as many staffers in Texas suffered along with their neighbors, with no power, heat or water. But they got creative and kept up the effort for a fully multiformat report, writing stories on phones when WiFi didn’t work, calling in feeds or charging electronics at colleagues’ homes. One reporter relocated to the home of an AP retiree when her own power was knocked out.