NEW YORK (AP) — An investigation into rampant labor abuses in the fishing industry of Southeast Asia won top honors for enterprise reporting in this year's Associated Press Media Editors awards for journalism excellence by AP staffers.
Coverage of the coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris won the award for deadline reporting. "Mexico: The Other Disappeared," which explored the heartbreak of families with missing loved ones in a country rife with kidnappings and killings, won for digital storytelling.
The "Seafood from Slaves" series by Martha Mendoza, Robin McDowell, Esther Htusan and Margie Mason led to the release of more than 2,000 slaves and exposed how slave-caught seafood made its way to grocers and pet food providers in the United States.
"The journalists, often facing danger, told compelling stories through beautifully crafted words, stunning photos and powerful video of caged and enslaved workers — and ultimately their homecoming," judges said. "They brought the issue to America's dinner table to show how illegal labor practices touch us all."
The coverage of the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris was a team effort by AP staff in Paris and across Europe. Judges praised the "mammoth effort to comprehensively cover such a huge international story."
The Charles Rowe Award for state news went to "Betrayed by the Badge." Reporters Matt Sedensky, Nomaan Merchant, Martha Irvine and Scott Smith identified 1,000 law enforcement officers who used their power to abuse the innocent. The judges said the series "should help prosecutors, citizen groups and police agencies spot troubled officers and clandestine organizations before they get out of hand."
The team that produced the interactive on Mexico's disappeared included Christopher Sherman, Eduardo Castillo, Dario Lopez-Mills, Ricardo Lopez, Alba Mora Roca, Roque Ruiz and Joan Bramon. The judges called their work "visually and emotionally stunning."
Kristen Gelineau won the feature writing award for "Stunting the Disabled," the story of a couple's decision to give hormones to their profoundly disabled daughter to stop her growth. "This piece will stick with the reader for some time," the judges said.
Htusan won the John L. Dougherty Award for exemplary work by an AP staffer 30 years old or younger. The judges said she illuminated the suffering of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim community, exposed the ruin of rural villages by the jade-mining industry and served as an "indispensable" member of the "Seafood from Slaves" team.
Dalton Bennett won best video for "Seeking Home: Life Inside the Calais Migrant Camp." The entry showed the hopelessness of refugees who were "seemingly trapped on an island of poverty and squalor just feet away from a bustling highway," the judges said.
Winners in three of four still photography categories also turned their lenses on the refugee crisis.
Darko Bandic won in the single news photo category for his portrait of a child slipping under razor wire as she crosses from Serbia to Hungary. Muhammed Muheisen won in the single feature photo category for his image of a Syrian girl jumping rope in a makeshift Jordanian refugee settlement.
In the news photo story category, Santi Palacios won for "Coming Ashore," a series on refugees making it across the Aegean Sea to Greece.
Felipe Dana won in the feature photo story category for "Zika: Ground Zero." Judges credited Dana for a fresh, authentic series of photos that took viewers inside a small Brazilian community where lives have been forever changed by the mosquito-borne virus.
National board members of APME, working in teams, selected winners in each category. Each winning entry receives $500.
Here is the full list, followed by judges' comments. In several categories, additional exemplary work was singled out for honorable mention.
— Winner: "Paris Attacks," Paris staff and Europe staff.
— Honorable mention: "Boehner Resigns," Erica Werner. "San Bernardino Shooting," California reporters Justin Pritchard, Tami Abdollah, Brian Skoloff and Mike Blood; Pakistan reporters Asim Tanveer and Asif Shahzad; U.S. Enterprise Editor Pauline Arrillaga.
— Winner: "Seafood from Slaves," Martha Mendoza, Robin McDowell, Esther Htusan and Margie Mason.
— Honorable mention: "Inside the Caliphate," Bram Janssen, Vivian Salama, Lee Keath, Francois Duckett, Maureen Linke. "Betrayed by the Badge," Matt Sedensky, Nomaan Merchant, Martha Irvine and Scott Smith.
Winner: "Stunting the Disabled," Kristen Gelineau.
JOHN L. DOUGHERTY AWARD FOR EXEMPLARY WORK BY AN AP STAFF MEMBER WHO IS 30 YEARS OLD OR YOUNGER:
— Winner: Esther Htusan, a member of the award-winning team that produced the "Seafood from Slaves" series.
— Honorable Mention: Juliet Linderman, Sadie Gurman.
CHARLES ROWE AWARD FOR DISTINGUISHED STATE REPORT:
— Winner: "Betrayed by the Badge," Matt Sedensky, Nomaan Merchant, Martha Irvine and Scott Smith
BEST USE OF VIDEO:
— Winner: "Seeking Home: Life Inside the Calais Migrant Camp," Dalton Bennett
— Honorable mention: "High School Football Player Breaks Record Single-Handedly," Josh Replogle. "Napalm Girl in AP Photo Undergoes Treatment," Josh Replogle.
— Winner: "Mexico Disappeared," Christopher Sherman, Eduardo Castillo, Dario Lopez-Mills, Ricardo Lopez, Alba Mora Roca, Roque Ruiz, Joan Bramon.
NEWS SINGLE PHOTO:
— Winner: "Migrant Girl Going Under Razor Wire," Darko Bandic
— Honorable mention: "Kashmiri men Watching Funeral From Trees," Dar Yasin. "Woman Crying at Charleston Shooting Memorial," David Goldman.
NEWS STORY PHOTO:
— Winner: "Coming Ashore," Santi Palacios.
FEATURE SINGLE PHOTO:
— Winner: "Refugee Girl Jumping Rope," Muhammed Muheisen.
— Honorable mention: "Coal Miner," David Goldman.
FEATURE STORY PHOTO:
— Winner: "Zika: Ground Zero," Felipe Dana.