The team of Russ Bynum, Adriana Gómez Licón, Wilfredo Lee, Terry Spencer, Robert Bumsted, Nathan Ellgren, Freida Frisaro, Bobby Caina Calvan, Lynn Sladky and Rebecca Santana — Florida staffers joined by out-of-town reinforcements — found innovative ways to break news, tell important stories in all formats and stay ahead of the competition as the search for survivors in the Surfside condo collapse stretched into a second week.

When AP learned an implosion of the remaining structure was likely looming, staffers rented a 26-foot scissor lift, fastened a live broadcast unit to it with bungee cords and covered it from incoming weather with a tarp. This work by Robert Bumsted, Nathan Ellgren and Wilfredo Lee allowed AP to get a clear view of the eventual implosion and deliver visuals over several news cycles that were picked up by major customers.

Meanwhile, AP reporters found compelling narratives, including Kelli Kennedy’s story on the last dramatic moments of the collapse as told by people who barely escaped. This piece had a rare engagement score of 100 with a highly unusual average time on page of more than 3 minutes — holding readers’ attention with vivid detail and emotion.

Adriana Gómez Licón’s story about the sensitive nature of dealing with remains also played widely. And her story about a missing widower was matched by several outlets that cited AP. AP also beat national and local competitors by an hour or more on breaking news of the death toll increasing, thanks to staffers finding a source of official briefings.

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A team works to recover remains as search and rescue personnel look on atop the rubble of the Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Fla., where scores of people remained missing, July 2, 2021, more than a week after it partially collapsed.

AP Photo / Mark Humphrey