Brian Melley in Los Angeles humanized, in the most gripping fashion, the floods that hit California. His interviews with the parents of a 5-year-old boy who was swept away by floodwaters give a heart-wrenching look at the impacts of the flooding. With sensitive reporting, exclusive details and vivid storytelling, Melley offered a compelling and comprehensive account of the tragedy.
Melley’s story included separate interviews with both distraught parents, an exclusive account of the mother’s dramatic rescue, and information from a local emergency official about what went wrong and how others could avoid a similar situation. Melley interviewed the mother on Zoom and secured permission for photos of the boy, Kyle Doan, and photos of the scene from a rescuer. AP researcher Jennifer Farrar helped him find the father’s phone number, while Javier Arciga produced the accompanying video piece. Lindsy Doan, Kyle’s mother, told Melley how she watched her son being swept away after he was pulled from her grasp. Melley then tracked down Neil Collins, who saw the incident and rescued Lindsy Doan, offering an exclusive perspective on what happened.
The Orange County Register sent out an email news alert to its own readers highlighting the story, USA Today cited AP's story in storm coverage, CBS News ran the story and it was the fourth most-read story on APNews.com.