June 29, 2018
Beat of the Week
We were warned: 30 years of global warming
for their in-depth, analytical package looking at 30 years of global warming. https://bit.ly/2yU6NWF
for their in-depth, analytical package looking at 30 years of global warming. https://bit.ly/2yU6NWF
AP produced the first comprehensive, multiformat examination of Oregon’s legalization of psilocybin — “magic mushrooms” — that proponents hope will spark a revolution in mental health care, garnering national and international attention.Read more
exposed the truth: The number of e-cigarettes on the market has exploded in recent years, a surge driven almost entirely by disposable e-cigarettes imported from China.Read more.
broke the news on June 21 that U.S. regulators had, for the first time, approved the sale of a new kind of meat made from animal cells.Read more.
AP explored the effect of new guidelines for treatment of kids with severe obesity that came out in January. Read more
teamed up to report exclusively on a pathbreaking campaign to vaccinate an endangered species of monkey in the wild – an unconventional approach that may prevent extinction, but also raises questions about how far to intervene to protect wildlife.Read more.
reported from the ground, the water and from the air to document the impact of climate change and land loss on the vanishing island breeding grounds of Louisiana’s brown pelicans, as well as the people and other wildlife that depend on this coastal ecosystem.After obtaining permission to visit the off-limits barrier islands, the all-formats trio revealed in words and striking visuals the effects of erosion and sea level rise on the coastal habitat and Louisiana’s saltwater marshes, and what remains to be lost: Louisiana’s state bird, the brown pelican, brought back over decades from the edge of extinction.Read more
visited Eutaw, Alabama, to better understand the issue of viability — a key word in the superheated debate over abortion — as experienced by families who know what it means to have a baby born at the edge of life.Ungar, who has covered maternal and newborn health for years, knew doctors were getting better at keeping very premature babies alive. She reviewed data and research, interviewed physicians and was connected to Michelle Butler who was in just her fifth month of pregnancy when she she gave birth to twins, including Curtis, the world’s earliest surviving premature baby.Butler let the all-formats team of Ungar, Wang and Dill into family’s life. What emerged was an emotional narrative of extreme joy and profound loss, explaining the science and ethics involved and bringing deeply reported, balanced, real-world context to one of the biggest, most provocative issues of the year.Read more
To explore the pandemic’s devastating toll on children’s mental health, AP’s Paris team gained extraordinary access to the psychiatric unit at France’s busiest pediatric hospital.
Paris correspondent John Leicester worked for months to build trust with hospital authorities and workers. Once inside, Leicester, photographer Christophe Ena and video journalist Nicolas Garriga discreetly documented activity in the unit while protecting the privacy of the young patients. Told notably through the story of an 11-year-old who starved himself so severely that he required emergency care, the package showed how the mental health of children is affected under the weight of lockdowns, curfews, family upheavals and school closures.
The resulting all-formats package — including evidence of the problem in other parts of the world — was widely used by AP customers.
For a sustained effort to gain access, and sensitive, revealing coverage on this issue touching children and families globally, the trio of Leicester, Ena and Garriga earns AP’s Best of the Week award.
worked nonstop for weeks to gain access to the launch of the COVID-19 vaccine campaign, the largest vaccination program in U.S. history. They reached out to old sources and spent weeks cultivating new ones, breaking down barriers to ensure that AP was positioned to cover the story – from trucks rolling with vaccine deliveries to the first jabs in arms.The source reporting paid off. Tips were aggressively followed and coordination between video, photo and regional news desks led to robust back-to-back all-formats pieces on the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine, including healthcare workers receiving injections. Video went live from several hospitals that were among the first to vaccinate front-line workers.Play was unmatched. The vaccine shipment story appeared appeared on more than 2,500 news sites and landed on at least 69 front pages including the Chicago Tribune, the Detroit News, the Kansas City Star and others.The story of the initial vaccinations appeared on at least 1,300 news sites and 64 front pages, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the Orange County Register and others. And The New York Times used AP photos as its lead image on consecutive days.https://bit.ly/3nYf15rhttps://bit.ly/3hdKNIUhttps://bit.ly/3mKf57o
revealed how pressure and politics have corrupted and delayed the scientific process, slowing the development of effective treatments against the coronavirus pandemic.Marchione reviewed studies that are underway and interviewed dozens of doctors, researchers, patients and policy experts as she looked at organizations trying to do rigorous science, as well as the issues undermining that research. Young found creative ways to tell the story visually, including a GoPro mounted on a medical cart. Together they document a Pennsylvania COVID-19 patient enrolled in a clinical trial.The story – challenging to report because of the fluid and chaotic nature of the subject itself – attracted readers and generated interest on social media, a strong showing for non-breaking news.https://bit.ly/2B1uyxRhttps://bit.ly/2CFLpqo
With African American and Hispanic communities in the Houston region already suffering higher rates of asthma and other diseases than the nation at large, AP’s Ellen Knickmeyer decided to focus on the area for a story on ordinary Americans living through the Trump administration’s public health and environmental rollbacks.
The administration was cutting back on rules limiting and monitoring harmful industrial pollutants, slashing enforcement and weakening an industrial-disaster rule.
Knickmeyer, a Washington-based environmental issues reporter, spent months searching out Houston residents, telling their stories along with deep reporting on the regulatory actions and their consequences.
Former EPA Director Gina McCarthy was among many retweeting the story, calling it a “must read” article.
For a rich, insightful look at the consequences of the Trump administration’s regulatory rollbacks on vulnerable communities, Knickmeyer wins this week’s Best of the States award.
for exclusive reporting that counterfeit vape pens and packaging are selling in in sight in downtown Los Angeles and online, fooling consumers, harming legitimate companies and possibly contributing to the spreading health crisis linked to vaping.https://bit.ly/2kW6B34https://bit.ly/2mtubEPhttps://bit.ly/2kocs0G
for obtaining emails through a public records request, revealing exclusively that months before the news became public, a U.S. Nobelist was told of gene-edited babies in an email titled “Success!” from a Chinese researcher. https://bit.ly/2RR6WDv
When a source told AP’s chief medical reporter Marilynn Marchione that a Chinese researcher had edited the DNA of several human embryos and implanted two into a woman, their conversation launched an aggressive but delicate reporting effort by AP journalists in the U.S. and China. That reporting led to the AP’s exclusive coverage of one of the most important and controversial claims in medical and science history. It was nothing less than an attempt to alter the trajectory of human heredity.
Science writer Christina Larson, videographer Emily Wang, researcher Fu Ting and photographer Mark Schiefelbein set out to interview the researcher and his colleagues in Shenzhen and Beijing, while Marchione and videographer Kathy Young worked the story from the U.S.
He's claim raised a laundry list of concerns. After talking with current and former colleagues and outside scientists, it became clear that his claim, while unverifiable, was plausible. AP knew it would be worthwhile reporting the claim, because the claim itself would be major scientific news. And it was – AP's exclusive on He's claim of the world’s first gene-edited babies made headlines worldwide.
The response from readers, customers and other scientists was immediate and intense. The inventors of the gene-editing technology He used condemned the claim. U.S. and Chinese universities that He was affiliated with launched investigations, and more than 100 Chinese scientists called for a ban on work of this kind in China.
AP’s reporting was credited or linked to by at least 44 media outlets and generated numerous downloads. At more than half a million page views it was by far the most read story on APNews for the week.
For responsibly breaking a story in all formats of a major scientific claim while exploring the ethical quandaries that He’s research has raised, Marchione, Larson, Wang, Young, Ting and Schiefelbein earn AP's Best of the Week.
A small reference to a big number in a Wall Street Journal story about the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caught medical writer Mike Stobbe’s attention. It reported that Dr. Robert Redfield’s salary was $375,000.
That seemed like a large sum, much more than previous CDC directors had been paid, thought Stobbe, who has covered the nation’s top public health agency for more than 12 years.
His hunch proved correct. His subsequent reporting showed that Redfield’s compensation was nearly double that of the previous Trump administration nominee, who resigned after six months, and more than the government’s other top health officials.
The scoop – which led Redfield to later ask for a pay cut – nets Stobbe this week’s Beat of the Week.
AP Richmond reporter Sarah Rankin learned from a state lawmaker that Chinese coal ash was being imported into Virginia, despite millions of tons of ash already stored near power plants, threatening surface and ground water with contamination by heavy metals. Like other states, Virginia is struggling with how to dispose of its existing waste.
Her story pinpointed where the overseas ash was coming from: China, India and Poland over the past two years. While the foreign shipments of the industrial byproduct were moving through Virginia to Wisconsin and Ohio, interviews with concrete producers and coal ash recyclers and sellers showed more ash was being imported into Virginia from other states.
One environmentalist raised the irony of the situation: "We have millions of tons of this sitting along our riverbanks. Why in the world would we be importing it from other states and countries?"
For exposing a problematic industry practice with statewide environmental and health implications, Rankin's story wins this week's Best of the States.
Statehouse reporters know to follow the money, that to hold government accountable we need to know where taxpayer money goes and how it is used. Nevada temporary legislative reporter Alison Noon did just that recently and helped bring about a promised change in policy that will make the workings of the state capital more transparent.
Noon first began reporting a story that rural health clinics offering family planning services to low-income women had slashed services and were turning women away for lack of funding after federal grant money dried up.
In the course of her reporting, Noon learned the program’s federal funding had been cut after a scathing federal review that showed widespread mismanagement and poor medical practices at the rural clinics. That highly critical federal report went unmentioned when the program’s administrator sought additional state funds during the legislative session.
Noon set out to learn why. She found Nevada did not require state administrators to share the results of such federal reviews with anyone – not the governor, not department heads, not state auditors. Her reporting led to a recently proposed requirement that such reviews be shared with Nevada auditors.
For her unmatched APNewsBreak, Noon wins this week’s Best of the States award.
When a Minnesota woman was preparing to meet the man who received her dead husband’s face in a transplant operation, the hospital that performed the surgery – the Mayo Clinic – immediately recommended that The Associated Press be the news organization to tell their story.
In early 2016 AP national writer Sharon Cohen, video journalist Teresa Crawford and photographer Charlie Neibergall had been first with the tale of Andy Sandness and Calen “Rudy” Ross. The AP team's sensitive portrayal of two men who had each attempted suicide, with the one who lived (Sandness) ultimately receiving the face of the one who did not (Ross), had been well-regarded by Sandness and by Ross’ widow, Lilly.
In the months following, Mayo was besieged with requests from news outlets to cover the first meeting between Andy and Lilly, but when the pair began making plans to meet in fall 2017, they wanted only AP in the room.
For their exclusive coverage of that poignant meeting, Crawford, Neibergall and correspondent Kyle Potter win this week’s Best of the States award.
They are the littlest victims of the opioid crisis: Tens of thousands of children forced into foster care because of a parent’s drug use. On Nov. 30, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released data from 2016 showing new foster care cases involving parents using drugs have hit the highest point in more than three decades of record-keeping.
Less than two weeks after that data was released, the AP transmitted a package of stories focused on two of the states with the biggest one-year increases: Indiana and Georgia.
The project came about thanks to an analysis begun months earlier by Washington-based data journalist Meghan Hoyer. Hoyer worked with an analyst to access exclusive county-level data on foster care entries over the past 15 years, giving the AP a unique, comprehensive and localized look at the issues surrounding children entering the system.
That data allowed New York-based national writers Matt Sedensky to focus his reporting in Indiana, where parental drug use was increasingly cited as the reason for foster care removals. Sedensky convinced the chief juvenile court judge to grant him access to courtrooms and files normally shielded from public view. He also worked to get a caseworker to let him follow her as she visited families caring for children removed from their birth parents’ custody, and spent time with adoptive families, medical professionals and others affected.
A second story, by national writer David Crary, also based in New York, zoomed in on one mother who had lost her three daughters to foster care and her battle to overcome addiction and win them back. In interviews and email exchanges over several months, mother of three Kim Silvers told wrenching details of her experience – including an interview at her joyous graduation ceremony after completing the program.
For providing moving insight into the plight of the youngest victims of the opioid crisis and the struggle of some families to break free, Hoyer, Sedensky and Crary share this week’s Best of the States prize.