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AP unmatched in multiformat coverage of Saudi consulate investigation

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Videojournalist Mehmet Guzel stakes out the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul, Oct. 2018.

The disappearance and killing of a journalist at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey has been one of the biggest, and most competitive, stories in the world this month, and the AP’s team in Turkey dominated coverage last week with its reporting surrounding a crime scene search of the consulate. The AP had two cameras at the consulate and a third nearby at the consul general’s residence that gave unmatched perspectives of key developments in the search for clues into the death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

The AP was ready when Turkish crime scene investigators arrived at the consulate without notice on Oct. 15.

Turkey news editor Ayse Wieting already had one camera fixed on the consulate door for 24-hour live coverage and quickly scrambled two more cameras with LiveU units to set up a three-point live shot. The efforts enabled AP clients to follow the search in real time from three angles, paving the way for the delivery of pieces much faster and more consistently than our rivals. The AP beat Reuters TV by more than two hours with the first edit of investigators entering the consulate.

The multi-angle live coverage of the consulate search scored more than 200 Teletrax hits on Oct. 15 while the five edits together got more than 1,000 hits.

On the text side,Ankara correspondent Suzan Fraser later got a high-level Turkish source to confirm that the consulate search turned up “evidence” that Khashoggi was killed there, a scoop that was cited across international and Turkish media.

And AP’s photo coverage of the story was also dominant,complementing the outstanding the video and text efforts. Photographers worked hard to find new angles on a visually challenging story,where often the only visible activity was people walking in and out of a building. Nevertheless,AP photos were consistently on the front pages of major newspapers, such as a huge front-page display in the New York Times on Oct. 15 of Athens-based photographer Petros Giannakouris’s view of a man peeking through the ajar double door of the Saudi consulate.

For such impressive efforts and ingenuity in covering a worldwide top story of paramount importance to AP members and customers in all formats, the AP team following the sad tale of the apparent gruesome killing of Khashoggi earns Best of the Week honors.

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