Reporter Sophia Tareen, with video journalist Melissa Perez Winder and photographer Charles Arbogast, helped to get AP an exclusive story about how the Cook County sheriff’s office in Chicago solved one of the most unusual cold cases it has ever come across — identifying an elderly person who died not remembering their identity.
In L.A., another AP team consisting of reporter Stefanie Dazio and photographer Jae Hong, told an equally captivating story of those who bring the city’s forgotten dignity, in death.
Good source relationships, thorough interviews with detectives and access to police reports helped Tareen tell the complex story of Seven Doe, an Illinois veteran who served in the Women’s Army Corps and was also a homeless person who identified as a man. Perez Winder and Arbogast were looped in early to tell the story visually — a challenge with limited living relatives.
Dazio and Hong spent months providing a moving, in-depth look at the Los Angeles workers who go through the emotional process of trying to keep the county’s unclaimed dead out of a mass grave.
Tareen’s story got nearly 70,000 page views on AP’s website and had a 94 percent engagement score through the first seven days of publication. Dazio’s story also performed well, with the story picked up by outlets including ABC and Fox News.
For graceful and thorough storytelling on two unseen stories, Tareen, Perez Winder, Arbogast, Dazio and Hong earn Best of the Week — Second Winner.