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Planning, teamwork, fast filing lead to all-formats wins on Breonna Taylor story

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The weeks leading up to the decision on whether to charge police officers with the killing of Breonna Taylor left plenty of time for crucial coverage planning – planning that helped set AP up for huge wins in speed and play on one of the biggest stories in America.

Louisville reporter and video journalist Dylan Lovan wrote urgent prep for every likely scenario. With the announcement imminent,colleagues Bruce Schreiner and Becky Yonker helped monitor the grand jury decision and get the urgent on the wire. And when it became clear that one officer was charged with wanton endangerment,but no one was actually directly charged with Taylor’s killing, South region staffers scrambled to get another alert out to clear up the confusion reigning on many news sites and TV channels.

Schreiner then gathered reaction,while Lovan covered a Frankfort news conference by the attorney general and fellow Louisville reporter Piper Hudspeth Blackburn gathered color and quotes from a downtown protest site. Meanwhile,national writer Claire Galofaro,who was on a reporting trip in Michigan,jumped in a car and drove back, getting there in time to help cover the protests and the shooting of two officers that night. Their coverage of the decision and protests that night was used by more than 1,700 outlets with heavy readership and hundreds of thousands of social media engagements.

Visiting photographers John Minchillo,New York,and Darron Cummings,Indianapolis,fast-filed reaction photos from downtown protest sites as the announcement came in. Their photos of the despair and the anguish that followed the decision were on the wire 15 to 30 minutes faster than other competitive agencies, an eternity for photos. Their images led The New York Times home page and nearly every front page across America that used a photo on the story.

Detroit-based video journalist Mike Householder joined Lovan and the video editing desks to overwhelm the competition with 20 video edits – a major competitor had seven. AP had the grand jury decision and two edits on the attorney general out well before the competition ran its first story. Our protest footage was unmatched throughout the night.

The Louisville staff continued to provide reaction as they covered the protests for days, eventually being joined by Atlanta-based video journalist Angie Wang. The coverage was capped by a deeply emotional story on the grief felt by protesters in Louisville and across the country reported by Galofaro and New York-based race and ethnicity reporter Aaron Morrison.

For their fast,in-depth work on a sensitive,highly competitive story,the team of Lovan,Schreiner,Blackburn,Galofaro,Minchillo,Cummings, Morrison and Householder wins this week’s Best of the States award.

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