Nov. 09, 2018
Best of the Week
‘They are human beings’: AP produces deep worldwide count of missing, dead migrants
The idea was bold from its inception: Attempting to count dead and missing migrants worldwide.
After covering the outflow of refugees in the wake of the Islamic State's takeover in parts of Iraq last year, Paris enterprise writer Lori Hinnant noticed a lack of data on the migration. She set off on a mission to count the uncountable.
The yearlong effort to document lives that would otherwise go unnoticed proved extremely challenging, precisely because it was plowing such new ground. An AP team of more than a dozen people painstakingly compiled information that had never been put together before from international groups, forensic records, missing persons reports and death records, and went through data from thousands of interviews with migrants. The data came alive with individual stories of migrants, a challenge in itself.
The AP project found 56,800 dead and missing migrants since 2014, almost double the number currently put out by the United Nations, which focuses heavily on Europe and nearly excludes several other areas of the world. The report drew significant interest, despite the fact that it ran six days before the U.S. midterm elections.
For their ambitious project that established AP as a global authority on this issue, Hinnant, Istanbul visual journalist Bram Janssen and Cairo photographer Nariman El-Mofty share the Best of the Week award.