March 24, 2023

Best of the Week — First Winner

AP looks ahead at new generation’s hopes 20 years after U.S. invasion of Iraq, not just behind at destruction

AP boasts about its global reach. An all-formats package reported from Iraq demonstrates how the deep expertise of its journalists also reaches back through history. 

We have an amazing team that covers Iraq day in and day out. But we also have a hidden resource: people who were there when history happened and are with us today. When we see the opportunity, we can offer our readers and customers that context. That was the case with Jerome Delay and John Daniszewski, both of whom were there in 2003 at the beginning of it all. They went back to offer some context about what has changed.

Delay and Daniszewski were both among the few international journalists in Baghdad when the U.S. launched its “shock and awe” campaign. They joined with video journalist Lujain Jo, a native Iraqi, and video journalist Jerry Marmer, who was embedded with Marines who invaded by land 20 years ago, to deliver an authoritative and nuanced portrait of a country that’s been out of the spotlight since the defeat of the Islamic State group five years ago.  

Instead of focusing solely on the war-torn image that many Iraqis say is outdated, the AP team’s package also focused on what’s ahead for Iraq. Beyond exclusive interviews with the Iraqi president and prime minister, they also conducted dozens of interviews with Iraqi youth. These gave a deeper and sometimes counterintuitive look at a generation interrupted by war and terrorism, whose voices are rarely heard outside their home country. Half of Iraq’s population of 40 million is too young to remember Saddam Hussein.   

For their sensitive and forward-looking view of an invasion that hit Iraq 20 years in the past, bolstered by their own lived experiences of it, Delay, Daniszewski, Jo and Harmer are this week’s Best of the Week — First Winner.  

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March 17, 2023

Best of the Week — First Winner

AP shows why young Americans are shunning college

News outlets had widely reported a drop in U.S. college enrollment, but nobody had really explained why. Education reporter Collin Binkley and Ohio-based video journalist Patrick Orsagos figured the best way to find out was to talk with young adults themselves.   

Binkley won a grant from the Education Writers Association and traveled with Orsagos to western Tennessee, where the pair conducted cross-format interviews with high school graduates whose stories exposed the reasons behind the trend: The high cost of higher education. Fear of student debt. A hot job market. General disillusionment with education after high school experiences disrupted by the pandemic and school closures.   

The story sparked wide discussion about the cost of college, the need for reform in higher education and the relevance of a bachelor’s degree in today’s economy. The day after publication the story landed on Reddit’s “popular” page, thanks to a post on the “Futurology” subreddit that received more than 25,000 upvotes and 3,000 comments. It appeared on at least 21 newspaper front pages, with good play on The Tennessean, The Jackson Sun, The Columbus Dispatch, The Roanoke Times and the Ithaca Journal, among others.

The story was tweeted by several members of Congress, including Sen. Marco Rubio. Parents, professors and other readers reached out via email and social media, saying the story resonated with them and demonstrated the need for America’s colleges to offer something young people see value in. And the former admissions director at Jackson State Community College offered to advise one of the students in the story on her college options; that student said she plans to contact him.  

For going to the source to find the reasons behind a major trend, Binkley and Orsagos share this week’s Best of the Week — First Place honors.

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March 10, 2023

Best of the Week — First Winner

Rehab on hold: COVID devastates prison learning programs

When COVID-19 hit, tearing through prisons and killing thousands, it severely disrupted or shut down the very programs prisoners desperately need to prepare them for eventual release. Trauma counseling, college courses, and job training in carpentry, masonry and barbering were slow to adjust to pandemic learning. Isolation and uncertainty replaced creative outlets and mental health therapies for months on end. National Writer Aaron Morrison and video journalist Noreen Nasir paired with Los Angeles photographer Jae C. Hong to explore the problem through a behind-the-scenes look at a California prison.

Visual access inside U.S. prisons is extremely rare; Morrison got the AP access using connections with sources. The team was particularly mindful of how to humanize the men beyond just their blue uniforms and tattoos, especially as they expressed themselves with such vulnerability through the intensive therapy work and programs.

For extraordinary work that allowed AP’s audience to see the impact of the COVID epidemic in prisons, Morrison, Nasir and Hong share Best of the Week — First Winner honors.

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March 03, 2023

Best of the Week — First Winner

Strong and competitive all-formats coverage captures Russia-Ukraine War’s impact at one year

With no end in sight to Russia’s war in Ukraine, AP journalists were tasked with marking the one-year anniversary of the invasion while continuing to produce daily coverage. The result was an ambitious, wide-ranging package that both promoted and built upon the important work AP teams have done over the past year.

The process began months in advance, with AP reporters in Kyiv, Moscow and Tallinn devising a list of story ideas that would aim to show how profoundly lives have changed in Ukraine and Russia and the ripples beyond those borders. The journalists also looked at what could lie in store as we enter a second year of war.

Weeks of smart planning and coordination across bureaus and departments resulted in a strong, competitive package that included something for everyone. Erika Kinetz had an exclusive centered around secret recordings the AP obtained of intercepted conversations between Russian soldiers and their loved ones, which became AP’s most engaged story for the month. Additionally, the AP was also able to offer exclusively commissioned drone footage and, thanks to herculean efforts by staff in Ukraine, live coverage from various locations on the day of the anniversary.

For rich, thorough, revealing and thoughtful coverage of the anniversary, the Ukraine war anniversary team is this week’s Best of the Week — First Winner.

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Feb. 24, 2023

Best of the Week — First Winner

AP team documents growth of landmines’ hidden toll in Myanmar

Months of reporting by Victoria Milko, David Rising and a colleague in Myanmar led to the most authoritative look yet at the problem of landmines in the country.

Their story recounted how a boy was maimed and teenagers killed. The team was also able to get military defectors and others in the country to share with AP how civilians are used as human shields and how groups reuse mines they claim to have cleared. The story demonstrates that this will be an issue in the country for years to come.

For their work documenting the horror of landmines in one of the world’s most isolated countries, we are honored to award Milko, our AP colleague in Myanmar and Rising this week’s Best of the Week — First Winner.

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Feb. 17, 2023

Best of the Week — First Winner

AP journalists overcome odds to cover powerful quake that killed tens of thousands in Turkey and Syria 

More than a dozen AP journalists worked non-stop with translators and drivers, crisscrossing a battered landscape, driving on icy roads for up to 10 hours on any given day to reach some of the hard-hit areas. They defied freezing temperatures to capture the big and the small: the scale of the destruction, and the tales of hope that came with each and every new rescue. 

The 7.8 earthquake and the ensuing 7.5 temblor that followed struck southeastern Turkey and northern Syria on Feb. 6. It will go down in history as the deadliest natural disaster in modern times in a region already battered by years of conflict.

Years of experience working in Turkey, Syria and Lebanon translated into a quick response in the field and aggressive reporting under extremely challenging circumstances.

For their extraordinary display of bravery, skill and dedication, AP’s Turkey and Syria earthquake teams are this week’s Best of the Week – First Winner. 

From Turkey’s capital, Ankara, to the earthquake’s hardest-hit Hatay province to rebel-held northwestern Syria, AP journalists worked day and night, risking injury and worse, to produce heart wrenching coverage.

For their extraordinary display of bravery, skill and dedication, AP’s Turkey and Syria earthquake teams are this week’s Best of the Week — First Winner. 

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Feb. 10, 2023

Best of the Week — First Winner

AP’s Grammys livestream attracts music’s biggest names, large audience

For innovation and connecting with new audiences, the AP Entertainment video team of West Coast Entertainment Video Editor Ryan Pearson, U.S. Entertainment Video Editor Brooke Lefferts, and video producers Gary Hamilton and Leslie Ambriz are the first winners of this week’s Best of the Week award. The team used its contacts at the Recording Academy to develop and successfully execute a hosted 2 ½-hour red carpet livestream from the Grammy Awards that drew in more than a half million viewers, outpacing rival streaming shows. The AP’s new social video team quickly cut and posted videos from the live feed on a variety of social sites, which garnered nearly 1 million views. The Grammys livestream took weeks of planning and technical assistance to pull off and showed that AP can produce a highly technical live event in the entertainment space, and that entertainers will seek out AP’s spot on a bustling carpet. The video recording of the livestream also will greatly improve the AP’s archive of early hip-hop artists who were not covered by AP in their heyday.

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