In today’s AP, collaboration across the News Department — across formats, across geographies, across different points of view and areas of expertise — is more important than ever. So, too, is the opposite: the initiative of a single AP journalist to tell important stories. Without either of these crucial skills, AP’s report is less than it might be.
It is in that spirit that this week’s Best of the Week second winner is awarded — split evenly between two projects that illustrate the best of what we can do individually, and the best of what we can do together.
The projects came together in completely different ways: One in which a team of journalists produced a cross-format project that celebrated hip-hop music’s 50th anniversary and its impact on the world. The other was also a cross-format project — but done by only one journalist who worked remotely with editors — that captured in images and in words how an Alaska town is facing the loss of its iconic glacier.
Both took time and dedication to pull off. And both served AP customers across a wide spectrum of media, as well as direct-to-consumer via apnews.com and the mobile app.
For the hip-hop anniversary, digital designers worked with reporters, videographers and photographers from the Entertainment and Race and Ethnicity department. Entertainment’s Jonathan Landrum Jr. and Gary Hamilton began collecting interviews last year for an anniversary package. Deepti Hajela, of the New York City bureau and the Race and Ethnicity team envisioned a comprehensive look at hip-hop’s impact. After she approached Andale Gross with the idea, it blossomed through team brainstorming sessions into an exploration of the growth and influence of hip-hop on society, from fashion to entertainment to business to sports and social justice. Hip-hop’s history of reinvention unified the disparate pieces that Darrell Allen’s design team could bring together visually.
While R and E’s Aaron Morrison, Noreen Nasir, Hajela, Sharon Johnson, Business’ Glenn Gamboa, and Sports’ Kyle Hightower and Alanis Thames worked on their stories, Entertainment’s Gary Hamilton and Jonathan Landrum Jr. interviewed more than two dozen hip-hop stars, with material contributing to many of the stories and leading to the creation of video-led interactive that will be the model for future stories ranging from Entertainment to Elections. Also, Amira Borders worked on the social video for this project on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
The project made a splash with numerous AP clients, including MSN, The Japan News, ABC News and The Washington Post.
Juneau reporter Becky Bohrer used creativity and persistence over several months to gather photos and iPhone video by hiking the Mendenhall Glacier and nearby mountains multiple times to document the shrinking of the ice sheet and how that affects the Alaskan city.
More than 1.6 million tourists visited Juneau this summer, most of them to see the rapidly melting Mendenhall Glacier. Bohrer began to wonder about Juneau’s fate once the glacier is no longer visible from the visitors’ center, which could happen within 30 years.
The result was an artfully done, multiformat package that examined Juneau’s unease about its future in the crosshairs of climate change.
Seattle videographer Manuel Valdes worked closely with Bohrer to produce the video package and Salt Lake City photographer Rick Bowmer did the same for the photo report. Chief Correspondent Gene Johnson, in Seattle, edited the text story.
Bohrer worked with the digital team before publication to create social videos, Instagram posts and push alerts to promote the package, which was an instant hit online.
The story garnered almost 200,000 page views and was among the Top Three for page views and engagement. The video got more than 60 hits on Teletrax and was used by major customers including Good Morning America and Univision.
For collective and individual effort, Hajela, Nasir, Landrum, Hamilton, Mouzakis and Bohrer share Best of the Week — Second Winner.