AP all-formats journalists from Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon, Portugal, overcame roadblocks and other obstacles to deliver outstanding coverage of the violent volcanic eruption on La Palma in the Canary Islands. That included some of the most visually striking coverage of the week, combining AP’s own live and edited material with user-generated content and other sources to show the destructive power of the eruption and the evacuations of thousands of residents.
Journalists Joe Wilson, Renata Brito, Emilio Morenatti and Alicia Leon spent the first few hours after Sunday’s eruption remotely gathering visuals and information from freelancers on the island, knowing the earliest AP could get a crew on the ground would be the following day. Brito secured a series of UGC videos and a live shot from the local TV station capturing the volcano roaring to life for the first time in 50 years, while Morenatti obtained photos from a freelancer living near the volcano.
Video freelancer Leon and Aritz Parra, chief correspondent for Spain and Portugal, took the first flight from Madrid to La Palma the next morning and hit the ground running, interviewing shocked residents who had grabbed what belongings they could before abandoning their homes to the slowly advancing wall of molten rock.
They were joined by video journalist Brito and photographer Morenatti who made images with his drone and from a rescue helicopter, capturing the vast reach of the lava flows from above, including iconic shots of an isolated house left seemingly untouched amid a sea of lava.
Meanwhile, in Lisbon, correspondent Barry Hatton wrote the stories, gathering material from the team on the ground, official sources and others. His colleague, video journalist Helena Alves, did the same for video, handling incoming footage from various sources.
The video edits and live shots were among the AP’s most-used throughout the week while the photos and text received prominent play in major online media.