The vicious beating death of Tyre Nichols was a monumental story that required extensive teamwork, coordination and sensitivity to accomplish successful coverage for the AP in a highly competitive news landscape as the officers were fired and charged with murder and the video was released to the public.
The coverage was a textbook example of how the AP can work together seamlessly across newsgathering, production and standards, with complete integration text, photos, audio and video.
Memphis correspondent Adrian Sainz, whose deep sourcing and knowledge of the city set the table for distinctive, all-formats coverage, anchored the reporting. Sainz secured an all-formats interview with the police chief on the day the video was released to the public. He was on top of every news conference, criminal charge and officer being put on administrative leave. He smartly anticipated next steps in the case and stayed connected with the Nichols family. He even helped coordinate the shipment of protective gear for staffers in case of civil unrest.
With the AP firmly established on the story because of Sainz, text reporters, video journalists and photographers across several teams were able to deliver smart takes on all aspects of yet another harrowing attack of a Black man at the hands of police.
When the video was released, Washington, D.C. photo editor John Elswick led the effort to move photos from the footage in timely fashion and with full consideration of standards issues that he communicated with senior news leaders in real time. Video producers performed a similar effort in moving video in lightning-fast fashion to customers, all done in consultation with senior video leaders. Race and ethnicity team writer Aaron Morrison worked ahead throughout the week on a piece about the slow pace of police reform in America, pairing up with video journalist Noreen Nasir and law enforcement reporter Claudia Lauer. Gerald Herbert vividly captured the drama in photos during two separate trips to Memphis during the week from his home base in New Orleans.
Mike Householder and Kristin Hall did the same in capturing the story on video. National writer Matt Sedensky produced an evocative story about the horrors of the video and the callous behavior of officers at the scene. Reporters in Sacramento deployed to Nichols’ hometown with help from NIRC and national writer Claire Galofaro and Nashville writer Travis Loller. Mark Scolforo in Pennsylvania visited the curious language put out by police right after the incident happened and put it in context in a sidebar that other outlets took days to do. Gary Fields and Corey Williams delivered a sensitive take on “the talk” young Black men are given when they reach a certain age — guidance Nichols seemed to follow though it didn't help him at all. A team of more than a half-dozen reporters divvied up the video segments and fed descriptions for breaking news updates and mainbar writethrus artfully assembled by Jonathan Drew and Denise Lavoie.
For collaboration across formats and teams that shaped sensitive and broad-reaching coverage, Adrian Sainz, Jon Elswick, Matt Sedensky, Noreen Nasir, Gerald Herbert, Aaron Morrison and Mike Householder win Best of the Week — Second Winner.
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