April 24, 2020
Best of the Week — First Winner
AP gets ‘blockbuster’ scoop on China’s delay in warning of the coronavirus
What and when did authorities in China know about the coronavirus’ initial spread and did they react fast enough? Those have become burning questions as COVID-19 tears a deadly and destructive path across the globe.
Among the toughest to answer, too.
The Associated Press cracked open China’s lockdown on information with an exclusive story – based on internal documents and expert testimony – revealing that top officials in Beijing knew about a likely pandemic, but held off on warning the public for at least six days – while tens of thousands attended a banquet in Wuhan and millions more travelled for Lunar New Year festivities.
The story’s byline – “By The Associated Press” – testified to the risks run by the reporter who secured and developed the major scoop.
For breaking through China’s tightly policed walls of information control about the critical first days of the pandemic, with a scoop secured in one of the world’s toughest media environments, the unnamed but not unsung AP reporter is this week’s Best of the Week laureate.