June 22, 2018
Best of the Week — First Winner
AP first with news of 2,000 kids separated from families at US border
It was the answer to the question everyone was asking, about the biggest story in the world. Just how many children had been separated from their parents at the U.S. border as a result of the Trump administration’s new zero-tolerance immigration policy?
Colleen Long, newly arrived on her Washington beat, got the hugely important scoop, beating all of her seasoned competitors with that very number: nearly 2,000.
Long had just moved to the nation’s capital after more than a decade covering law enforcement in New York, assigned to the Department of Homeland Security. She went right to work grilling sources – anybody she could find.
After speaking to some two dozen people, Long hit pay dirt. A source called and said, “I'm going to give you a big scoop.”
The information put AP more than an hour ahead with the news that, at that point, nearly 2,000 children had been forcibly removed from their families at the border over a six-week period. Long’s competitors – including reporters who have been covering the beat for years – had to wait for the numbers to be released on a conference call later in the day.
For determined, aggressive reporting that yielded a huge payoff, Long wins the Beat of the Week award.