April 19, 2024

Best of the Week — First Winner

AP hosts digital-first experience of total solar eclipse with livestream, blog and scenes from Mexico to Maine

In a large-scale, innovative and comprehensive work of journalism that required months of planning and precise execution, a core team from Health and Science conceived a digital-first experience of the total solar eclipse with a livestream, live blog and scenes along the path of totality from Mexico to Maine. Executing the plan successfully required coordination that extended across formats, countries and departments.

Coverage of the eclipse began in February with weekly all-formats storytelling by the Health and Science team, with contributions from Global Beats and U.S. News teams. Work also began to develop a livestream eclipse show, featuring Health and Science audience and social lead Kyle Viterbo; video journalists Mary Conlon and Laura Bargfeld; and aerospace writer Marcia Dunn, along with engineer Hugo Blanco.

In the control room, Global Beats video news editor Kathy Young, Entertainment video editor Brooke Lefferts and U.S. assignment manager Robert Bumsted worked with video operations manager Derek Danilko and broadcast engineer Rob Weisenfeld to produce the six-hour livestream. They worked with video journalists who went live along the path, including Alexis Triboulard, Lekan Oyekanmi, Nick Ingram, Teresa Crawford, Patrick Orsagos and David Martin, while video curation editor Francisco Guzman kept real-time track of audience engagement.

A live blog launched at 5:30 a.m. EDT with posts prepared by Health and Science editor Stephanie Nano, and deputy editor Jon Poet, live blog editor Emily Olson and digital editor Sophia Eppolito kept it running with fresh dispatches and visuals over 12 hours from journalists in Mexico, the U.S. and Canada.

Unique and quickly filed images of the event were captured photojournalists Fernando Llano, Eric Gay, Mat Otero, Tony Gutierrez, Jeff Roberson, Michael Conroy, Carolyn Kaster, Jon Cherry, Matt Rourke and Bob Bukaty, with coordination by chief photographer Julio Cortez.

For conceiving a digital-first approach that caught the attention of our customers and our digital audience, the Health and Science team of Viterbo, Conlon, Bargfeld, Dunn and Nano are this week’s Best of the Week — First Winner.

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April 12, 2024

Best of the Week — First Winner

AP team springs into action after Ecuador raids Mexican embassy to arrest former VP

When the Ecuadorian government, under the orders of President Daniel Noboa, took the unprecedented action of storming the Mexican Embassy in Quito late on Friday, April 5, AP’s visual team based in the Andean city responded swiftly. They were on the ground during crucial moments of the significant event, which garnered global attention over the weekend and subsequent days.

Freelance video journalist Cesar Olmos and photojournalist Dolores Ochoa captured images and sound of the incensed embassy staff and rapidly filed images of military forces scaling the walls of the building as they entered and seized Jorge Glas, Ecuador’s former vice president, who had previously faced multiple corruption charges and sought refuge in the Mexican embassy several months prior to the raid.

In addition to securing the initial visuals, the AP team was quick to deliver across other formats to publish the details of this unprecedented event.

For comprehensive and quick work to report on the initial events and immediate fallout after an unprecedented international incident, Olmos, Ochoa, Regina Garcia Cano, Megan Janetsky, Gonzalo Solano, Gabriela Molina, David Biller and Sara Espana are Best of the Week — First Winner.

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April 05, 2024

Best of the Week — First Winner

AP team jumps into action to lead the pack on stunning Baltimore bridge collapse

When the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed in the middle of the night, AP staff from Bangkok to Baltimore contributed to all-formats reporting over a vast spectrum of spot and investigative angles.

It was just a bit after 3 a.m. when Baltimore reporter Lea Skene learned the Francis Scott Key Bridge had just crumpled into the river below.

Skene sprang into action and got a key fire department official on the phone. That allowed the AP to quickly give accurate details and avoid inflating the numbers of people missing, like other outlets did. Soon a team of AP reporters, photographers and video journalists joined to deliver coverage that earned huge play in newspapers around the world.

Annapolis reporter Brian Witte joined Skene on the ground and scored early-morning interviews with the governor and the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board. Video journalists Nathan Ellgren and Rick Gentilo provided coverage that was the most downloaded among customers globally for the week, particularly their early shots. Photographers Mark Schiefelbein and Matt Rourke delivered images of the crumpled bridge and of locals discussing how the collapse challenged Baltimore’s identity as a port city.

For delivering an encompassing and engrossing look at how the collapse of a bridge scarred a city’s psyche and uncovered potential trade-offs when it comes to safety, Skene, Witte, Schiefelbein, Rourke, Ellgren, Gentilo and the Baltimore Bridge Collapse Team are this week’s Best of the Week — First Winner.

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March 29, 2024

Best of the Week — First Winner

AP exposes evidence that Burkina Faso security forces massacred civilians

West Africa Correspondent Sam Mednick obtained exclusive accounts from massacre survivors in the remote region of Zaongo in Burkina Faso.

Killings of civilians by security forces happen regularly in Burkina Faso yet are hardly reported amid a brutal war with jihadist rebels. Few survivors are brave enough to speak out and most flee, staying silent under a repressive regime. Government investigations are also rare, and no one is held accountable.

Mednick, who is based in Senegal, was looking into reports of one of many such violent incidents that she had seen video evidence of circulating in WhatsApp groups, when a source in Dakar said he had relatives who survived the massacre and could speak to her.

Through the trusted contact in Senegal, she was able to talk to a family that lived in the area and connect with survivors.

AP was the only media able to get the story and photos of this attack, one of several killings under investigation by the U.N. and government. To date, no one has been held accountable.

Washington-based newsperson Michael Biesecker was able to add reporting on Burkina’s military links to the U.S. and worked closely with Mednick from the start to develop the reporting.

For exposing a crime that was all but impossible to report on, Mednick and Biesecker’s story is Best of the Week — First Winner.

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March 22, 2024

Best of the Week — First Winner

AP’s chilling exclusive of Russian ‘passportization’ inside occupied Ukrainian territories breaks just as Putin’s preordained election begins

The Kyiv team, in partnership with Lori Hinnant of global investigations, gained exclusive access to a world clouded with hostile Russian propaganda in the occupied territories to report on the increasing Russian pressure on Ukrainians to accept their passports.

The team pooled their contacts to track down willing Ukrainians who had accepted the passports and managed to evacuate from occupied Berdyansk and Kherson.

A few brave Ukranians, fearing condemnation by their own people, overcame their fears after the team earned their trust through steadfast reporting over the past year.

Lawyers, experts, and Ukrainian officials revealed previously unreported information on the “passportization” policy and that Ukrainians were being forced to fight in the Russian army.

Stepanenko and Arhinova found families who had resisted, including a woman whose sons risked being drafted to fight against Ukrainian forces.

The story ran just as voting in the Russian election was getting underway, driving interest by major news outlets over the weekend.

For their commitment and resourcefulness against the odds, Hanna Arhirova, Susie Blann, Lori Hinnant, Samya Kullab, Evgeniy Maloletka, Illia Novikov and Vasilisa Stepanenko are Best of the Week — First Winner.

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March 15, 2024

Best of the Week — First Winner

AP shows itself best of class in election coverage Super Tuesday

In the runup to Super Tuesday, The Associated Press showed why it’s at the top of the class when it comes to elections coverage.

As Super Tuesday neared, the AP had an issue on its hands: how will it call races that night when it would have no VoteCast poll — but the TV networks had their exit polling, which could have put the AP at a competitive disadvantage? Serena Hawkins, data scientist for AP’s Decision Team, got to work.

In just two weeks, she researched, developed, tested and deployed a new approach to race calling that allowed the AP to declare Donald Trump and Joe Biden winners in several states with a very small return of counted votes.

That new model, used by the AP on Super Tuesday, put AP’s race calls ahead in states where the TV networks didn’t have a poll, and only a few minutes behind in states where they did — and with no errors in its calls.

Meanwhile, the AP, for the first time, was able to deliver its vote count directly to news consumers through a new immersive elections experience on APNews.

The effort was captained by development lead Linda Gorman, with team members Ryan Best, Michelle Minkoff Carlson, Chaithra Chandraiah, Shelly Cheng, Chad Day, Phil Holm, Dan Kempton, Humera Lodhi, Maya Sweedler, Pablo Barria Urenda and Robert Weston. On the night of Super Tuesday, the recirculation rate for these pages was, in a word, stratospheric.

For all these reasons, Serena Hawkins and the Elections Data Visualizations Team are Best of the Week — First Winner.

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