Best of the Week — First Winner
New England staff, Investigations join forces to cover tense search for a killer in Maine
It started as a vague alert of a shooting in Maine. But within minutes of learning about it, Portland-based correspondent David Sharp had guidance that at least 16 people were dead. He knew that would make it the state’s deadliest shooting by far.
Even before the first AP alert went out, Sharp and Robert Bukaty were headed to Lewiston, where a gunman had opened fire in a bowling area and bar and then vanished into the night. They were the first national news crew to arrive, coming up live for video and filing the first images of the aftermath.
Sharp’s video interview with a shoeless man who hid in the machinery of the bowling alley as people died around him was among the first eyewitness accounts, getting wide usage by clients including The New York Times.
Ultimately, 18 people would die, and residents would stay locked inside their homes for days.
Throughout the following days, a crew of journalists shared responsibilities and information in Lewiston and beyond, including AP’s breaking news investigations team of Bernard Condon and Jim Mustian who exclusively reported that Maine police were alerted as recently as September to “veiled threats” by the U.S. Army reservist.
AP’s story, which was matched — with credit — over the next day by both The New York Times and CNN, marked the most detailed reporting yet on the contact law enforcement had with the gunman, who killed himself.
The cross-format, cross-department collaboration on this story was flawless and a demonstration of AP at its best. For aggressive breaking news reporting and investigations, we are delighted to award New England’s staff, Mike Balsamo, Alanna Durkin Durkin Richer, Lindsay Whitehurst, Condon and Mustian for the Best of the Week Award — First Winner.