With no end in sight to Russia’s war in Ukraine, AP journalists were tasked with marking the one-year anniversary of the invasion while continuing to produce daily coverage. The result was an ambitious, wide-ranging package that both promoted and built upon the important work AP teams have done over the past year.
The process began months in advance, with AP reporters in Kyiv, Moscow and Tallinn devising a list of story ideas that would aim to show how profoundly lives have changed in Ukraine and Russia and the ripples beyond those borders. The journalists also looked at what could lie in store as we enter a second year of war. Weeks of smart planning and coordination across bureaus and departments resulted in a strong, competitive package that included something for everyone.
The stories included an extraordinary and devastating tale of friendship and loss in Ukraine, a searing takeout on Ukraine’s year of pain and nation-building as well as in-depth takeouts on the two men at the center of the war, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
In a strong showing of innovation and exclusivity, Erika Kinetz wrote an incredibly telling story that centered around secret recordings the AP obtained of intercepted conversations between Russian soldiers in Ukraine and their loved ones back home. That became the AP’s top story for the day, eventually garnering more than 290,000 page views, and it was the AP’s most engaged story for the month of February.
The AP also offered exclusively commissioned drone footage showing the scale of destruction in Bakhmut, Marinka and Vuhledar. Thanks to herculean efforts by staff in Ukraine, the AP was also able to provide live coverage to customers on Friday, Feb. 24, the day of the anniversary, from various locations, including a press conference by Zelenskyy. A video of a map that showed territorial shifts in Ukraine over the past year has received more than 375,000 views on YouTube.
To showcase all the content produced, AP’s digital team put together an interactive presentation that also highlighted some of AP’s strongest coverage from the past year. The anniversary coverage that unfolded over more than two weeks was consistently among the topmost engaged stories and yielded hundreds of hits in Teletrax on any given day.
Among the key members of the team involved in the core coverage and its presentation are: Vladimir Isachenkov, Daria Litvinova, Andrew Katell, Lynn Berry, John Leicester, Samya Kullab, Erika Kinetz, Peter Hamlin, Vasilisa Stepanenko, Mstyslav Chernov, Emilio Morenatti, Dario Lopez, Enric Marti, Darrell Allen, Gerald Rich, Koko Nakajima, Phil Holm, Anne Marie Belgrave, Alexander Zemlianichenko, Efrem Lukatsky, Vadim Ghirda, Evgeniy Maloletka, Srdjan Nedeljkovic, Nic Dumitrache, Bela Szandelsky and Malak Harb.
For rich, thorough, revealing and thoughtful coverage of the anniversary, they are this week’s Best of the Week — First Winner.