AP reacted quickly to reports of a plane crash north of Moscow, both in Russia and around the world, to offer fast, accurate and solid reporting on the death of Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin. AP’s exclusive video, photos and analysis dominated websites, front pages and newscasts as AP stayed in front of the quickly evolving story.

Amid conflicting reports, AP sent an alert on the crash at 17:00 Greenwich Mean Time, then another one three hours later confirming that Prigozhin was on board the plane that crashed; other outlets including the BBC had initially alerted Prigozhin was killed and had to walk back the claim before official confirmation.

Quickly sourced user-generated content showed the plane falling out of the sky, and AP sourced photos from contacts who had special access to the crash site. A video journalist and photographer quickly set off on the four-hour drive from Moscow to the scene while a driver picked up the LiveU transmitter from the office and caught up with them. AP had a live shot up around 23:00 GMT from the police cordon. Great reconnaissance work the next day gave AP a better vantage point showing the plane’s tail in the field, footage that was widely used. The team also sourced exclusive footage shot by witnesses on the ground.

Moscow news director Harriet Morris, photographers Alexander Zemlianichenko, Dima Lovetsky and Pavel Golovkin, video journalists Tanya Titova, Kostya Manenkov, Olga Tregubova and Kirill Zarubin, assistant Anatoly Kozlov, and reporters Dasha Litvinova, Emma Burrows, Volodya Isachenkov, Jim Heintz and Lori Hinnant all made major contributions, aided by Top Stories Hub editors Sarah DiLorenzo, Brian Friedman and Chris Sundheim.

Enterprise off the news began even before Prigozhin’s death was confirmed. We quickly converted well-prepared obits into profiles, and for days commissioned widely used new stories not only from our Moscow staff but from Africa and Washington as well, from a quickly done look at “the many sides of Yevgeny Prigozhin” to a wealth of explainers and analysis on what’s next for Putin and for Wagner.

All seven of AP’s most-used videos of the week were from the crash, with clients using those seven more than 12,000 times.

For quick, exclusive coverage of a highly competitive story that gave our customers exactly what they needed, the Moscow bureau staff earn Best of the Week — First Winner.

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