Jill Colvin, White House reporter, Washington, leaned on decades of source development, strong preparation and hustle to make AP first among mainstream news organizations with word of President Donald Trump’s commutation of Roger Stone’s prison sentence.
Knowing that a pardon or commutation was likely at any moment, Colvin reacted quickly when Stone’s friends started posting celebratory tweets. She reached Stone by phone as champagne bottles were popped in the background, only to be put on hold for 20 excruciating minutes. When Stone finally picked up again, he walked her through the president’s call informing him of the commutation – while Colvin sent live quotes to AP’s Washington desk. The AP alert moved ahead of the White House announcement, and within seven minutes of the alert, an 1,100-word story was on the wire, drawing on preparedness drafted with Colvin’s Washington colleague Eric Tucker. AP was the first mainstream outlet with the news and the only one with reaction from Stone on the night of the announcement.