After a U.S. soldier dashed across the Korean border into North Korea, AP journalists across 13 time zones jumped into action. New Zealand correspondent Nick Perry snagged an interview with a tourist who at first thought she was seeing a social-media stunt. Perry obtained photos from the tourist and Seoul video journalist Yong Jun Chang persuaded her to go on camera.
Foster Klug, the news director for Korea and Japan, mined the opportunity by writing about the surreal Korean border village where the incident occurred — a place that exudes both a carnival atmosphere and danger. Seoul reporter Kim Tong-hyung described what the solider may face during detention in North Korea, and Seoul correspondent Hyung-jin Kim wrote about the odd ways the United States and North Korea communicate with each other.
Chief Seoul photographer Ahn Young-joon traveled to the border daily, capturing images of North Korea. Video journalists Kim Yong-ho and Yong Jun Chang’s early morning live shots at the Demilitarized Zone provided a real-time look into one of the least visited places on Earth.
In the United States, Madison, Wisconsin, correspondent Scott Bauer and video journalist Melissa Winder in Chicago scored an all-formats interview with the soldier’s baffled family. Milwaukee-based photojournalist Morry Gash played a significant role in the coverage from Wisconsin, capturing images of the defector soldier’s family members, including an APTOPIX photo of the grandfather. And in Washington, Lolita Baldor and Tara Copp revealed that the soldier had served time in South Korea for assault and described the hours leading up to his dash into North Korea.
The coverage was among the AP’s most viewed.
For their solid teamwork across formats and time zones, Hyung-jin Kim, Kim Tong-hyung, Nick Perry, Kim Yong-ho, Yong Jun Chang, Ahn Young-joon, Foster Klug, Lolita Baldor, Tara Copp, Melissa Winder, Morry Gash and Scott Bauer are awarded Best of the Week — Second Winner.