AP’s team of Thanassis Stavrakis, Elena Becatoros, Theodora Tongas, Lefteris Pitarakis, Srdjan Nedelikovic and Derek Gatopoulos in Athens pulled off an exclusive interview with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who is seeking reelection. It was the conservative politician’s first interview with an international news agency resulting from persistence over more than four years. The interview was a top story in Greece and was widely used across Europe. Dogged persistence by Stavrakis, chief of photography, with a source in the prime minister’s press office led to the sit-down interview. With the prime minister on the campaign trail for weeks, the challenge was to find questions that had the best chance of producing news despite him appearing in public and speaking several times a day.
Brainstorming among Tongas, Gatopoulos, reporter Nicholas Paphitis and writer Elena Becatoros produced the questions that triggered responses that made big news domestically, both on relations with Turkey and on the Parthenon marble sculptures. The taping, with lighting and various cameras, was arranged by Pitarakis and Nedeljkovic under the coordination of Tongas. Stavrakis produced a complete photo gallery. Gatopoulos produced customer-ready videos that reflected the stories written by Becatoros, the interviewer, and he also designed and executed the social promotion plan for the stories.