Rome-based senior producer Maria Grazia Murru and her Athens counterpart, Theodora "Ted" Tongas, ensured that video coverage of the pope’s recent five-day trip to Greece and Cyprus was comprehensive and virtually flawless, giving AP an edge over the competition.
Working from the pope’s complex schedule, the pair’s advance work began in August. Their meticulous planning and smart deployments of AP video journalists from European bureaus meant that AP had cameras in all the right places, live coverage of all the main events and coordination with other agencies and host broadcasters for pool material.
As the pope plane-hopped from Cyprus to Athens to Lesbos and back to Athens, AP provided unrivaled live and edited coverage, including unscheduled incidents, such as the Orthodox priest heckling the pope in Athens and two Italian exchange students convincing him to pose with them for a selfie. Murru also had the foresight to work from the Athens press center during the pope’s visit to Lesbos, making AP the only agency to deliver video that wasn’t part of the pool coverage, including key footage of the pope greeting people in a migrant camp on the island. In all, the team produced some 60 video edits during the trip.
The video planning and production paid dividends in logistics and content for other formats as well; AP writers enhanced their stories with color and comments pulled from the footage.