Jan. 05, 2018
Beat of the Week
Rohingya survivors: Myanmar army slaughtered men, children
for their vivid reconstruction of a massacre of dozens of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. http://bit.ly/2F3x83x
for their vivid reconstruction of a massacre of dozens of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. http://bit.ly/2F3x83x
for an extraordinary all-formats piece that followed a Venezuelan mother and daughter as they made the journey by foot across four countries to Peru, joining about 650 desperate migrants who walk out of Venezuela every day to avoid the country’s desperate situation.
The poignant story was augmented by moving photos and video, and an animated map. The AP team followed them closely for nine days under difficult conditions – freezing cold in parts, burning hot in others, and exhausting miles of walking to provide AP’s audience a detailed view into what they were facing, Readers wrote to Armario praising the story and asking how they could help.https://bit.ly/2Pp0TnDhttps://bit.ly/2ykBNwrhttps://bit.ly/2D7nXkO
When family separations began under President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, widespread rumors circulated that some separated children could end up being adopted by families in the United States – without their deported parents even being notified. California-based investigative reporters Garance Burke and Martha Mendoza set out to learn if this was true and eventually uncovered the case of 5-year-old Alexa Flores, exposing holes in the U.S. legal system that could allow deported mothers and fathers to lose their children.
Alexa’s story illustrates the fate that could await some of the hundreds of children who remain in federal custody after being separated from their parents at the border.
Burke and Mendoza sifted through hundreds of court records and dozens of interviews with immigrants, attorneys, and advocates in the U.S. and Central America. Teaming up with multiformat colleagues David Barraza and Rebecca Blackwell in El Salvador, Mike Householder and Paul Sancya in Michigan, and Mexico City-based Dario Lopez, they revealed how migrant children can become cloaked in the maze of state and federal courts, which are rarely in contact with each other.
For producing a complex, powerful story that spanned two countries in heartbreakingly human terms, Burke, Mendoza, Lopez, Blackwell, Sancya, Householder and Barraza win this week’s Best of the Week.
for a story drawing on interviews with 10 Rohingya Muslim rape survivors in Bangladesh who are now having their babies – or abortions. https://bit.ly/2KUfP7Ahttps://bit.ly/2KJj0Df
The disturbing stories of more than 2,000 kids caught up in the U.S. immigration system – including babies and toddlers forcibly separated from their parents – dominated headlines and led newscasts around the world.
AP reporters, working across the country, in Washington, D.C., Latin America and along the U.S.-Mexican border led the coverage of the impact of the zero tolerance immigration policy. Their work produced a series of scoops that set the agenda, alerting Capitol Hill leaders to a major White House order, leaving an MSNBC anchor in tears and generating action by politicians.
For their work, the Beat of the Week is shared by investigative reporters Garance Burke, Martha Mendoza, Michael Biesecker and Jake Pearson, and Washington reporters Jill Colvin and Colleen Long. The award also recognizes an outstanding company-wide effort that included reporting from numerous locations and across formats, putting the AP repeatedly in front of a major global story.
Last year, when Beijing correspondent Gerry Shih was working on a series of stories about the Uighurs in China, he learned that a number of citizens from Kazakhstan had been ensnared in a crackdown in the Xinjiang region where Muslims were being indoctrinated in a network of internment camps.
When one of them, Omir Bekali, decided to speak out about his eight-month ordeal in detention and in a so-called re-education center where hundreds of thousands of Muslims are being indoctrinated to disavow their religion, Shih, video journalist Dake Kang and China chief photographer Ng Han Guan traveled 2,000 miles to Almaty to interview him.
Their in-depth, all-formats report on the physical and psychological torment Bekali endured earns the Beat of the Week.
The threat over her phone to Army wife Angela Ricketts was terrifying. “Dear Angela!” it said. “Bloody Valentine’s Day!”
“We know everything about you, your husband and your children,” it continued, claiming that Islamic State militants had penetrated her computer. “We’re much closer than you can even imagine.”
More than three years after Ricketts and four other military wives received this and other alarming messages, AP London-based cybersecurity reporter Raphael Satter unraveled the secret behind it all. Satter drew on a massive hit list of Russian hacking targets, focusing on a group of five women whose names were clustered together on the list. All reported having received death threats from a mysterious group calling itself CyberCaliphate back in 2015.
The threats were not from Middle Eastern terrorists at all, but hackers from the Russian group widely dubbed Fancy Bear – the same gang who later broke into the Democratic Party’s emails and interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
For revealing the latest wrinkle in the Russian hacking story, Satter earns the Beat of the Week.
for her exclusive story about how the U.S. Coast Guard and Mexican Navy were going after drug smugglers on the high seas – even as the two countries' governments sparred on trade and immigration. https://bit.ly/2q9kvNU
for breaking the news that the remaining schoolgirl held captive after a Boko Haram mass abduction was blocked from release with her Muslim classmates at the last minute because she refused to convert to Islam. hhttps://bit.ly/2E75ocV
for their exclusive cross-formats story showing that a growing number of Syrian refugees are returning to Syria from Europe and neighboring countries. http://bit.ly/2EvOXuY
The stories could not be more different. One revealed that United Nations peacekeepers had been accused of thousands of instances of sexual abuse over 12 years. The other recounted the last hours of a doomed freighter and its crew, as they sailed into a hurricane.
But both of these AP stories – by Paisley Dodds and Jason Dearen, respectively – drew extraordinary notice, captivating readers in a busy news week. And in a departure from usual practice, the two contrasting stories, a hard-hitting investigation and a powerful narrative, are being recognized as co-winners of the Beat of the Week.
Oil extracted from the tar sands of Canada has contributed to booming production among American refineries, but it also has created a messy legacy: Ton upon ton of a filthy byproduct called petroleum coke. U.S. utilities don’t want it because of its extremely high sulfur content, leaving refineries with one option – getting rid of it – because stockpiling had stirred community outcries. Tammy Webber, a Chicago-based reporter with the environmental beat team, wondered: If refineries couldn’t offload the substance in the U.S., what were they doing with it?
Through a year’s worth of detective work, Webber and her beat team colleague in New Delhi, Katy Daigle, traced the shadowy network that trades in oil refineries' bottom-of-the-barrel leftovers. They found that India was the leading destination of “petcoke” from the U.S., and Indian officials had no idea the amount of petcoke flowing into the country was 20 times more than just six years before. Nor did they know how it was being used in a country already choking on some of the world’s dirtiest air.
Within 24 hours of the story hitting the wire, India’s government announced it would phase out imports of petcoke and had begun working on a policy to end the practice.
For revealing the secretive transport of petroleum coke from the U.S. to one of the world’s most polluted countries, and for drawing an immediate reaction from the government of India, Webber and Daigle win this week’s Beat of the Week.
for exclusively reporting that U.S. officials would recommend a declaration of "ethnic cleansing" taking place against Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims. https://www.apnews.com/a901c08e4c9d4b5da9f5d32dc95...
It’s well-known that many U.S. factory jobs have been shipped overseas or automated out of existence. What’s not so well-known is that American manufacturing is no longer shrinking. Factories have actually added nearly a million jobs in the past seven years.
But the jobs have changed: The new ones generally require advanced education, technological know-how or specialized skills to survive in what are now highly automated workplaces. Yet training opportunities are limited, particularly for older workers.
Cincinnati correspondent Dan Sewell and photographer John Minchillo pinpointed this uneasy mix in southwestern Ohio and proposed an immersive multimedia story to illuminate the trend for readers and viewers. Collaborating with Washington business writer Chris Rugaber, video-first reporter Mike Householder and others, they produced a multifaceted package that made full use of the AP’s global reach, earning this week’s Best of the States prize.
One of the most vulnerable senators up for re-election in 2018 – Democrat Joe Donnelly of Indiana - has staked his nearly two-decade political career on opposition to outsourcing and free-trade agreements that ship American jobs abroad.
Following up on a tip from Washington, D.C., colleague Erica Werner, Indiana Statehouse reporter Brian Slodysko pulled together public documents and customs records to reveal that Donnelly has benefited financially from the very free trade policies he has decried since his first run for Congress. As Slodysko reported in his “Only on AP” story, Donnelly earned thousands of dollars in 2016 alone from stock in the arts and crafts business his family has owned for generations, which ships raw materials to its Mexican factory that produces ink pads and other supplies.
For shining light on something a politician would have preferred left unknown to his constituents, Slodysko wins this week’s Best of the States award.
for landing a scoop about an effort by a broad group including the 28-nation European Union, the United States, Japan, Australia, Argentina, Israel and four other countries to pressure China to scale back plans for intensive inspections of imports that they say would hamper access to its fast-growing market. http://on-ajc.com/2skMfTt
for revealing the list of demands by Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries on Qatar to resolve a major diplomatic crisis. http://apne.ws/2sxygIL
A video beat of 15 minutes on a terrorism story in the heart of a European capital? Footage showing militants in Asia actually plotting an attack? On two continents in the same week, Associated Press journalists obtained these exclusives through remarkable ingenuity and persistence.
Their efforts are rare co-winners of the Beat of the Week.
They’re called “golden visas” – legal permission for non-citizens to reside in the U.S. or other countries in exchange for investment. But how much are such investments worth, and who is making them?
These were questions that AP’s Nomaan Merchant set out to answer, encouraged by Greater China news director Gillian Wong.
After months of searching out data from 20-plus countries, analyzing it and interviewing investors, Merchant could report that more than 100,000 Chinese have poured $24 billion in the last decade into "golden visa" programs across the world, and notably in the U.S. – an exclusive AP analysis that earns the Beat of the Week.
for scoring the only face-to-face interview with the computer whiz credited with halting the WannaCry virus that crippled systems in 150 countries. http://apne.ws/2qXE2mg