Washington-based health care reporter Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar was the first to report that although the Biden administration’s plan to distribute free COVID tests to American households was announced with great fanfare, less than half of the available test kits had been delivered. His story, based on interviews with the White House, showed how the plan to mail out 500 million free COVID tests had met with lackluster demand as virus cases plummeted.

Alonso-Zaldivar has covered the pandemic since the beginning and speaks with authority on COVID. When he decided to delve into the program to assess demand, his expertise as a health policy reporter helped him land key interviews with White House officials, persuading at least some of them to speak on the record. He also put together a timeline on the test distribution plan, adding context on the administration’s rollout.

Major news outlets amplified the story with credit to the AP, and a day after the story moved, no other news organization had matched AP’s reporting.