AP staffers across formats, story forms, beats and continents teamed up to bring speedy, insightful coverage to the first in-person U.N. General Assembly since the onset of COVID-19.
Months ago, The Associated Press committed to delivering more global, innovative and thematic coverage than ever around the United Nations General Assembly. With collaboration that spanned the AP’s international footprint, and with strong leaders at the helm — Ted Anthony, director of new storytelling and innovation; Sarah DiLorenzo, deputy director of top stories; Peter Banda, video news manager; and Julie Jacobson, head of photos for the New York bureau — the team delivered coverage that stayed on top of the spot news and captured the flavor of the world’s biggest planned diplomatic event.
Excellence in delivery was the first area of success for the team. Early on, the team knew it needed to deliver alternative story forms to break down the coverage into accessible, shareable chunks. And while demands are dramatically different for text, photos and video — their workflows have little in common — AP’s UNGA team coordinated across all formats in one of the most locked-down and least accommodating environments for collaborative work.
The video and photo departments devised intricate plans to quickly turn around images of the scores of UNGA speakers and sideline events, with producers in Berlin, Cairo, Jerusalem, London, Asia and Latin America, as well as U.S. regions, pitching in to help with edits. Photographers delivered multiple images of more than 150 global leaders and blanket coverage of related activity both inside and outside the U.N. In addition to the tireless work of “running and gunning” video journalists in New York, video staffers produced thematic pieces that included a wrap of opening day and looks at the war in Ukraine, climate change and the future of the Commonwealth. Text reporters never took their eye off breaking news, while still managing to push out stories that captured the big picture.
The second area of success was the involvement of AP’s beat teams. Two grant-funded departments new since last year, the Climate and Education teams, played key roles in U.N. events related to their respective coverage areas. Climate secured a rare interview with the U.N.’s new climate chief. Entertainment snagged an exclusive interview with poet Amanda Gorman and got the text of the new poem she was reading at the U.N., along with the rights to publish it on the wire. The AP’s journalists in Africa led the way in bringing international regions to bear on the coverage. Asia worked behind the scenes for weeks to deliver an almost unheard-of on-camera interview with new Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos.
Throughout the week, the digital team executed a smart social plan, experimenting with story forms to amplify the multiformat content and building the journalists’ observations into shareable bites alongside the main courses. Among the standout social pieces was an Instagram reel by indefatigable U.N. correspondent Edie Lederer, produced by Mallika Sen.
Lederer and New York staff writer Jennifer Peltz anchored the core team in New York, at the center of virtually crowdsourced coverage as AP journalists across the globe weighed in with insight and expertise.
For sweeping, in-depth coverage that was second to none, the UNGA team is AP’s Best of Week — Second Winner.