West Africa correspondent Sam Mednick was in Niamey — by chance to make use of a visa nearing expiration — when mutinous bodyguards launched a coup against their president. But her stellar, singlehanded all-formats coverage is due entirely to her extraordinary multimedia skills and perseverance.
On the day of the July 26 coup, she covertly filmed troops on the streets from her car, braved bullets to cover protestors opposed to President Bazoum’s ouster and worked late into the night reporting as the new junta took to the airwaves.
Day after day, Mednick produced live video, photos of demonstrations, WhatsApp clips to colleagues and interviews on and off the record to show the importance of the coup in a country that has long been considered a bulwark of democracy against Islamic extremism and autocracy.
She did it alone. Our regular local stringer was abroad, our West Africa senior video producer had left for the Mideast, and our West Africa bureau chief was on vacation.
And she’s still at it.
The result: 14,000 client hits on Teletrax in 10 days, many of them shot by Mednick. And a story that she owned alone among international journalists.
For her tireless, astonishing multimedia coverage in a place where few of our competitors, if any, had a presence on the ground, we are honored to award Sam Mednick the Best of the Week — First Winner.