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AP staffers win APME awards

Monday - 7/29/2013, 11:31am  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Coverage of Superstorm Sandy and terrorism in Africa won awards for deadline, enterprise and state reporting from the Associated Press Media Editors association for journalism excellence by AP staffers.

"AP's New York and New Jersey staffs' coverage of the 800-mile-wide mashup called Sandy was, in a word, exceptional," the APME judges said in awarding the Deadline Reporting prize to the team that covered the storm. They said that under the worst of conditions, including their personal storm woes and risks, the staff provided up-to-the minute, authoritative coverage that was "nothing short of stellar."

They described the coverage as "wire service reporting at its best -- quickly updated, well-written, compelling and comprehensive."

The New York and New Jersey staffs also were awarded the Charles Rowe Award for distinguished state reporting for the Sandy coverage.

In honoring West Africa bureau chief Rukmini Callimachi for her pieces on terrorism, the judges said the stories were "fascinating, horrific and well-told."

Callimachi's work included a story in December 2012 describing how al-Qaida was carving out its own country in Mali; a month later, France sent its military to rout Islamic extremists from the northern part of the country.

Callimachi went to Timbuktu, where she found documents left behind when al-Qaida fled the storied city ahead of advancing French and Malian troops. They included a letter from al-Qaida reprimanding the alleged mastermind of the deadly hostage-taking at an Algeria gas plant and a manifesto detailing al-Qaida's plan to conquer northern Mali. Callimachi also wrote "Love in the Time of Shariah," the story of a woman who was flogged by Islamic militants for her relationship with a married man.

The judges said Callimachi "showed much bravery, enterprise and knowledge in uncovering these stories." They described her work as "courageous pursuit of news under extreme conditions; an important voice that many more news outlets need to reflect. Her reporting reminds us why the AP matters so much in this profession."

Photographer Charles Krupa, based in Boston, won the News Single Photo award for his image from the Boston Marathon bombing of medical workers running an injured man past the finish line in a wheelchair.

"This dramatic image of the Boston Marathon bombing aftermath is the iconic image for that event," the judges said. "For the photographer to have the composure to capture this amid the chaos is incredible."

Cairo photographer Khalil Hamra won the News Story Photo award for his series on the fighting in Syria, which the judges described as "raw, detailed and insightful" images.

Photographer David Goldman of Atlanta won the Feature Single Photo award for his image of a retired Marine teaching a young Boy Scout the proper salute at a veteran's grave. "It's a compelling and poignant photo," the judges said.

Altaf Qadri, a photographer based in New Delhi, won the Feature Story Photo award for his series on a makeshift school for slum children under a New Delhi bridge. "As a result of this photo story, readers were inspired to give donations that resulted in improvements to the school," the judges said.

India bureau chief Ravi Nessman and Kristen Gelineau, bureau chief for Australia, won the Feature Writing award for "The Longest Journey," the story of a young man's quest to find his mother after they were separated decades earlier in India and he was adopted by a family in Australia. The judges said the story, based on reporting from two continents, read like a novel.

"The writers avoid a clich
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