Sportswriters Kristie Rieken and Alanis Thames dove into the world of historically Black university bands and football classics to produce two compelling, all-formats features that highlight the significance of the bands and games for Black communities in the United States.

Rieken built a text story around a local school, Texas Southern, whose band was practicing 10 hours a day for an all-star HBCU band contest at the home of the NFL’s Houston Texans. Using details gathered on site at practices and the contest itself, she crafted a tale of why the marching bands are so beloved in the Black community, a story enriched by vivid images, video and audio that all helped with social promotion on AP platforms. Fellow sports writer Alanis Thames in Miami added a detailed, complementary sidebar on how the HBCU classic games that date back decades are like family reunions. 

The text and video were used by major customers like USA Today and ABC News. The social video edit, produced by Amira Borders, had nearly 8,000 views on TikTok and almost 4,000 likes on Instagram, making it one of the most engaged videos of the week on each platform