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AP reaches Nobel winner before anyone – including prize committee

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This year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner didn’t find out about the award from the Norwegian Nobel Committee. They found out from AP.

AP Rome producer Trisha Thomas ensured that the AP was the first to get reaction from World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley following the announcement that the Rome-based U.N. agency had won the prestigious award.

Not only did she get Beasley on the phone,she made sure he provided a video statement that AP moved to clients well before WFP made it available to others on its Twitter account. Thomas was also first to receive another clip from WFP in which Beasley,who was in Niger,celebrated the news with co-workers. A still frame was grabbed from the video, sharply handled by the London photo desk to keep AP ahead of other agencies in all formats on one of the top stories of the week.

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World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley speaks to the media about the organization’s Nobel Peace Prize win, at the airport in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Oct. 9, 2020. – AP Photo / Sam Mednick

The beat was possible thanks to Thomas’ quick reaction and the good relations the Rome video team has developed with WFP. Thomas reached Beasley through a longtime contact who was traveling with the director in Africa. The stunned aide rushed into a meeting to let Beasley know about the prize,an anecdote the WFP chief later recounted in interviews with other media.

AP’s urgent with Beasley’s reaction to the peace prize moved an hour before major competitors,and video of him celebrating was five hours ahead of a primary competitor.

Thomas’ scoop capped a week of excellent coverage by AP’s Nobel Prize team, with fast filing of the announcements across formats and aggressive efforts to locate and interview winners. A well-prepared coverage plan and smooth coordination between AP departments and international bureaus enabled AP to move nimbly on all the prizes.

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A woman holds a World Food Program voucher to receive food aid in Mudzi, Zimbabwe, Feb. 20, 2020. The WFP received the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to combat hunger and food insecurity around the globe, it was announced Oct. 9. – AP Photo / Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi
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