Best of the AP

Best of the Week - First Winner Dec. 03, 2021

AP dominates coverage of Ahmaud Arbery verdict with dedicated reporting, planning, teamwork

AP 21328717974922 2000

When the first murder conviction came down in the closely watched trial of three men accused in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, AP’s news alert rocketed out a stunning nine minutes ahead of competitors. Savannah, Georgia, correspondent Russ Bynum anchored that coverage on the final day as he had single-handedly for weeks, writing thousands of words over the course of the trial.

His deep knowledge of the complex case was key to preparing for the potential verdicts. Bynum and team had a plan in place: AP would send out an alert as soon as a first murder conviction came down, rather than wait for verdicts on all three defendants. That decision gave AP the edge over news organizations that waited for all the verdicts to be read, and no doubt contributed to AP’s overall dominance of the story.

The verdicts were followed with analysis, explainers and enterprise. AP also produced 13 video edits on the final day and captured telling photos inside the courtroom before, during and after the convictions.

Bynum was at the heart of AP’s collaborative effort. For his fierce dedication to the case, Russ Bynum earns AP’s Best of the Week — First Winner honors.

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Best of the Week - Second Winner Dec. 03, 2021

Alert reporting reveals a new European migration tactic — packed luxury sailboats landing in Italy

AP 21322463080112 2000

When Rome producer Trisha Thomas learned that the southern region of Calabria was being overwhelmed by an influx of migrants, she also picked up on a curious detail in handout video: Instead of migrants arriving in flimsy rubber or wooden boats, she spotted clips of sleek sailboats.

Thomas, who has covered migration in Italy for more than two decades, traveled to Calabria with photographer Alessandra Tarantino. The pair delivered all-formats spot coverage of two arrivals, then kept reporting on this new method of crossing the Mediterranean. Among the discoveries was the economics: A single trip on a stolen sailboat packed with migrants netted smugglers nearly a million dollars.

Interviewing new arrivals in local shelters, Thomas also obtained user-generated content of migrants arriving by sailboat. Combined with coast guard video and Tarantino’s photography, including drone shots of stranded sailboats, the pair built a powerful package ahead of the competition, scoring impressive play.

For alert, resourceful coverage that reveals a new aspect of European migration and the startling economics behind it, Thomas and Tarantino receive AP’s Best of the Week — Second Winner award.

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