Best of the AP

Best of the Week - First Winner Sept. 15, 2023

AP team provides fast — and exclusive — coverage of devastating Morocco earthquake


Sam Metz had been on the job for four days. The newly appointed North Africa reporter had just arrived in Rabat, fresh from Utah, when Morocco’s strongest earthquake in more than a century hit late Friday.

As Metz got alerts and a story going, photographer Mosa’ab Elshamy knew exactly what to do. He organized a car and driver, and the duo headed to the epicenter hours away, navigating rubble-blocked roads. Their all-nighter paid off: AP had the first international journalists on-site.

Both Elshamy and Metz shot video from their phones as Brussels-based video journalist Mark Carlson rushed to get there with a LiveU and satellite phone. Freelancers helped keep AP ahead, while colleagues around the world pitched in on all formats.

AP had the first confirmed death tolls and stayed ahead throughout that crucial first day. Metz’s firsthand accounts and Elshamy’s photojournalism yielded exclusive stories that led websites beyond AP News and topped the Los Angeles Times print edition two days in a row. The Day 1 story was the third-most-viewed story on AP News for that week.

For fast and fearless work under complex circumstances, Metz, Elshamy and Carlson are this week’s Best of the Week — First Winner.

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Best of the Week - Second Winner Sept. 15, 2023

Focus on trends, viral moments helps AP’s US Open team score big wins


The team covering this year’s buzzy U.S. Open brought a renewed aggressiveness to the annual Grand Slam tournament by quickly jumping on, reporting and filing the interesting, quirky angles outside the lines of the matches, and in the process expanding the audience far beyond just tennis and sports fans.

It’s part of a new direction in AP Sports that seeks to tailor coverage of major sporting events for the social media age, with quick recognition and filing of highly viral, shareable moments and angles that transcend the sports audience and, in turn, draw eyeballs back to the stellar AP stories and analysis about winners and losers of the actual matches.

Howard Fendrich, Brian Mahoney and James Martinez more than met that mandate.

The two-week run of the tournament also included deeply reported takeouts that met the mandate, including an AP analysis in coordination with the climate team on how global warming is causing temperatures to rise at the U.S. Open and other Grand Slam events. And one story looked at the difficulty of recycling tennis balls, which can take more than 400 years to decompose.

Outside-the-lines, quick-hit stories and accompanying AP social media posts included: Barack and Michelle Obama making a surprise appearance to watch Coco Gauff and to honor Billie Jean King, an unruly fan yelling Nazi slogans at a German player, and environmental protesters disrupting a key women’s match, among many other stories.

The approach paid off. The three most-viewed and highly searched stories from the U.S. Open on AP News were the ones about the climate protest, the fan ejected for using Nazi language, and a marijuana story in which a player complained of a court “smelling like Snoop Dogg’s living room.”

For strong coverage of the U.S. Open that provides an example to emulate in coverage of other major sporting events, the team of Fendrich, Mahoney and Martinez earns the Best of the Week — Second Winner.

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