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.

AP23058845746787

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.

AP 23055330971526

Dec. 23, 2022

Beat of the Week

(Honorable Mention)

AP scores on live video coverage as Argentines erupt in joy after epic World Cup final

used impeccable planning to achieve the live shot and photos that gave the world a historic look as Argentines erupted in joy after their team’s World Cup final win.

A weeklong preparation of navigating a never-ending barrage of obstacles to ensure a live-shot position with connectivity that would overcome a raft of challenges paid off as we offered a live with an elevated view over the gathered multitudes in central Buenos Aires.Read more.

AP 22352793646243

Feb. 03, 2023

Beat of the Week

(Honorable Mention)

Persistence, restraint win AP widely cited exclusive on death for political commentator "Diamond"

Reporters Hannah Schoenbaum and Lea Skene exclusively obtained the death certificate of pro-Trump commentator, Lynnette "Diamond" Hardaway to help dispel rumors and misinformation running wild on social media. After Hardaway’s sister falsely implied that a COVID vaccine had played a role during a livestreamed memorial, AP used restraint by deciding not to write about what was said about the cause of death at the memorial while waiting for an official autopsy or death certificate that the reporters had already requested. Read more.

AP 23010591510141

Jan. 27, 2023

Best of the Week — First Winner

AP's Boone spearheads 20-outlet legal challenge to Idaho college stabbings gag order

The fatal stabbings of four college students at the University of Idaho campus in Moscow, Idaho, in November 2022 were initially shrouded in mystery and misinformation. As Boise, Idaho, Supervisory Correspondent Rebecca Boone worked to untangle all of this, a judge put up yet another barrier to getting the story to the public: a sweeping gag order prohibiting law enforcement agencies, attorneys or anyone else associated with the case from discussing it publicly.   

In the middle of one of the biggest stories in the nation, Boone suddenly had a new task on her plate: singlehandedly spearheading a legal challenge to the gag order — ultimately recruiting a coalition of 22 print and TV media outlets, including The New York Times, to join the cause.  

The AP couldn't have had a better advocate for the task. Boone has a track record of fighting for press access and has made the issue a top priority in her lengthy AP career. 

AP 23018805314824

Jan. 06, 2023

Best of the Week — First Winner

AP sportswriter breaks news of Pelé's death

Brazil sportswriter Mauricio Savarese had been preparing for the death of soccer legend Pelé for months, if not years. When it happened, he and his colleagues from all formats delivered a huge win for AP.

Savarese long had been building sources close to Pelé, from among his current and former agents, friends and family of the three-time World Cup winner considered by many as the greatest player ever.

The 82-year-old Pelé was hospitalized in November to treat ailments related to colon cancer. Through sources, Savarese learned that Pelé's condition was critical and that his death could occur at any minute. Colleagues across all formats mobilized to put finishing touches on the preparedness, from the main obituary to stories looking at every aspect of Pelé's life and accomplishments, to video, lives and photo packages.

For extraordinary preparation and source development to beat all competitors on a sports story of major importance globally, Savarese earns Best of the Week – First Winner.

AP 080625025897

Jan. 06, 2023

Beat of the Week

(Honorable Mention)

In struggle against climate change, Peruvian tribe seeks compensation for land taken for its carbon credits

traveled 300 miles over muddy tracks and by water via outboard to visit seven villages of an ignored tribe of Kichwa Indigenous people and to hear their testimony about a historic injustice that is also an example of a current trend in climate finance. Tribal members say their historical lands were taken away, throwing them into poverty, to create a national park from which the Peruvian government earns millions in climate carbon credits from faraway oil companies such as Shell and TotalEnergies.Read more.

AP 22356004797360

Jan. 06, 2023

Best of the Week — First Winner

Police seize on COVID-19 tech to expand surveillance

An AP team of journalists around the globe disclosed that governments worldwide used the COVID-19 pandemic to build tools and collect data to help curtail the virus, but those tools and data are being repurposed for surveillance by police and intelligence services.

Fresh off a fellowship studying artificial intelligence at Stanford University, reporter Garance Burke returned to AP’s investigative team with an idea for a gripping global project: Could AP staff track how policing worldwide had changed since the pandemic began?

More than a year later, Burke and the cross-format, cross-border team she led produced a sweeping investigation revealing how law enforcement across the globe mobilized new mass surveillance tools during the pandemic for purposes entirely unrelated to COVID-19.

For using Burke’s newfound knowledge and keen interest in AI to bring forth a disturbing story on surveillance and policing with global ramifications, the team of Burke, Federman, Jain, Wu, McGuirk and Myers, supported by numerous other colleagues across the AP, share Best of the Week – First Winner.

AP 22350580033969

Jan. 06, 2023

Beat of the Week

(Honorable Mention)

Vivid detail, compelling visuals showcase aftermath of Northern California earthquake

delivered compelling text, photos and video that depicted the chaos and sense of community spirit that followed a magnitude 6.4 earthquake in a remote stretch of rural Northern California, putting strong all formats coverage on the wire despite issues with cell service and internet. Beam and Vasquez were awoken by early morning phone calls from editors to head far north in the aftermath of a 6.4-magnitude earthquake that rocked Northern California.Read more.

AP 22355146808110