AP staffers collaborate on a textbook all-formats win on a top story.
AP New York staffers Larry Neumeister and Ken Sweet teamed up to score an exclusive, on-camera interview with Rudy Giuliani at John F. Kennedy International Airport as Giuliani returned from Georgia, where he is a target of an investigation into attempts to overturn former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election defeat.
Giuliani faced hours of questioning before a special grand jury in Atlanta, then dodged the news media as he slipped out of the courthouse and caught a flight home. But he couldn’t dodge the AP.
The scoop was set in motion when a friend of finance reporter Sweet posted a message in a group chat: “Oh! Rudy Giuliani is on my flight.” Sweet quickly secured some video of Giuliani on the plane and let AP journalists covering the Trump investigations know the former New York mayor was en route.
With that news, federal courts reporter Neumeister consulted with New York News Editor David Caruso, then hustled by train to JFK, where he quizzed arriving passengers to determine where and when Giuliani was likely to emerge. As Giuliani came out in a wheelchair, Neumeister held an iPhone in each hand so he could shoot video and stills, a skill he honed on the courts beat. He greeted a smiling Giuliani, who said the Fulton County district ended the appearance by saying he had “satisfied his obligation under the subpoena.” “So I was very happy that I satisfied my obligation,” Giuliani added.
“Mr. Mayor, Associated Press here! What can you say about the trip?”
— Larry Neumeister, AP federal courts reporter
Neumeister kept Giuliani in conversation and filmed until the elevator door closed, a tip he learned from video news manager Peter Banda.
Giuliani’s comments from the impromptu interview led the Atlanta-datelined story on the grand jury appearance, while the exclusive video received strong play around the world, on network television and on YouTube.
For hustle, grit and resourceful all-formats coverage that delivered a major win on one of the day’s top stories, Neumeister and Sweet earn AP’s Best of the Week — Second Winner.