Best of the AP

Best of the Week - First Winner Dec. 09, 2022

Heartbreaking photos give rare personal look at fentanyl's toll on homeless people

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When photographer Jae C. Hong returned to Los Angeles after a year in Japan, he was struck by how the number of homeless people had vastly multiplied. It was immediately before the pandemic -- and Hong, like so many reporters in the AP, spent much of the next year chronicling the impact of coronavirus.

Earlier this year, he was able to get back to the project he’d yearned to pursue and started chronicling homeless Angelenos between other assignments. One night, he encountered two police officers standing over a dead body -- and his project, spotlighting the lives, and sometimes the deaths, of fentanyl addicts, began to take shape.

Hong spent about six months documenting the humanitarian disaster. What he produced were gut-wrenching photos that gave a rare, intensely personal and brutally honest look into the tragedy unfolding on the streets of LA, an unconscionable scene often overlooked. AP writer Brian Melley, using Hong's reporting and experiences, crafted a story of equally vivid imagery that portrayed the raw human suffering with sensitivity to complete the package. The package was widely used and kept readers’ attention. The engagement score on AP News was a perfect 100 and Facebook featured it on its news feed.

For focusing on a problem that is too often unseen and producing a raw, compelling visual package, this week’s first Best of the Week is awarded to Los Angeles photojournalist Jae C. Hong.

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Best of the Week - Second Winner Dec. 09, 2022

Stunning images, compelling stories mark AP’s volcano coverage

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When Mauna Loa, the world’s largest volcano, erupted on Hawaii’s Big Island AP staff jumped into action to cover this story that captured the world’s attention.

It was never a question if Mauna Loa would erupt, just a matter of when. That was answered late in the evening of Nov. 27 when the volcano began spewing lava after a 38-year hiatus. AP’s Hawaii staff jumped on the story immediately, relying on a plan that had been put in place last October when there was a heightened state of seismic activity.

Cross-format collaboration was key to AP’s coverage, with reporters Audrey McAvoy and Jennifer Kelleher anchoring stories in Honolulu while Caleb Jones, Haven Daley and Greg Bull provided photos, video and text feeds from the Big Island.

For spectacular images and video and smart, culturally relevant stories that went beyond the spot news, AP’s coverage of the Hawaii volcano eruption is this week’s Second Winner.

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