Fulfilling AP’s mission to report from underserved areas and leverage our 50-state footprint isn’t an easy task, but one that Dylan Lovan executed in multiple formats when he went to check on victims of a historic July 2022 flood. It took persistence, travel to a remote area and hours of effort to find the right subjects to tell the story to the world.
Lovan revisited Kentucky’s Appalachian region several months after the flooding displaced thousands. A recent report noted that the floods damaged or destroyed about 9,000 homes in one of the country’s poorest areas. Recovery could cost nearly $1 billion.
Hundreds of families were placed in state-owned hotels or travel trailers. By March 2023, the largest cluster of trailers remaining was in Breathitt County, one of the hardest-hit counties.
Lovan traveled to the trailer cluster outside of Jackson, but getting folks to speak was a challenge, as most left during the day to work or visit family. After about two hours of knocking on trailer doors and chatting with locals, one of the people he found was Shirley Howard, who had been living with her husband and son in a trailer on the lot for several months. Howard’s story was emblematic of a lot of locals’ ongoing frustration struggles.
In close collaboration with Mary Sedor of the Top Stories Hub and Michael Casey of the Housing Team, Dylan produced a multiformat package with video, photos and text.