Haiti video journalist Pierre-Richard Luxama, photographer Odelyn Joseph and former Haiti correspondent Trenton Daniel teamed up to vividly illustrate why environmental work is emerging as one of the world’s most dangerous professions, as seen through the lens of one such worker in Haiti. In 2020 alone, a record 227 environmental workers were killed globally, according to human rights organization Global Witness.
Daniel reported from New York while Luxama and Joseph followed marine biologist Jean Wiener during a rare trip to his native Haiti. Wiener has been forced to do most of his conservation work from his home in Maryland because of rampant violence in his homeland. The AP team transports readers to the ominously named Massacre River where Wiener, under armed guard, negotiates an agreement between Haitian and Dominican fishermen in an overfished area. The images also take readers into Haitians’ daily lives, as well as the consequences of recent violence.
The package was the result of tight collaboration between AP’s climate team and Latin American editors: Video editor Paul Byrne and photo editor Ricardo Mazalan worked closely with Luxama and Joseph on security, ensuring their movement was as safe as possible. Daniel consulted with the team in Haiti and climate editor Peter Prengaman on the text edit. Producer Melinda Ulloa edited the various video packages and digital storyteller Samantha Shotzbarger brought all the elements together in an engaging presentation.
The work played widely, including use by the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Miami Herald and San Francisco Chronicle. On the day that it moved, the story scored near the top for reader engagement on AP News, a sign that strong storytelling and a striking presentation captured readers’ attention even amid a flood of U.S. domestic and world news.