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Teamwork delivers sweeping coverage of Supreme Court nomination

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AP journalists coordinated reporting, writing and digging to deliver a smooth, comprehensive rollout of the news that President Donald Trump was nominating Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court seat formerly held by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, producing exclusives along the way.

After the stunning news of Ginsburg’s death, the question almost immediately turned to the president’s nomination of a successor. AP White House reporter Zeke Miller quickly discerned the front-runners as colleagues across the company sprang to work on thoroughly reported profiles and images of the five potential justices. The focus narrowed, though, to Barrett. Miller wanted to know why. So he kept asking the question, while Congress reporters Lisa Mascaro and Mary Clare Jalonick dug for information on the eventual hearings. AP video journalists worked on interviewing people who knew the presumptive nominee. Meanwhile, with Ginsburg’s legacy still front and center, Supreme Court reporters Mark Sherman and Jessica Gresko continued their standout coverage of the late justice through her memorial.

Chicago reporter Michael Tarm, in Terre Haute, Indiana, to cover executions, wrote a revalatory biography of Barrett in anticipation of the announcement. When the expected nod by Trump came on Saturday, the AP was ready with a package of deeply reported text, video and photos.

But that wasn’t all. While Miller was writing the main story, he got the scoop he was looking for – how the nomination had happened. Multimedia journalist Kevin Vineys had graphics and bio boxes at the ready. Working with Department of Justice reporters Colleen Long and Michael Balsamo, he put together an entirely separate exclusive that became the centerpiece of the AP’s package. And Jalonick followed the official announcement with a news break – the date of the first confirmation hearing. Sherman added important context with a story on how the woman expected to take Ginsburg’s seat is in many ways her polar opposite.

Miller, however, still wasn’t done. In the middle of preparing for the Saturday announcement, he had this scoop: The GOP was investing $10 million in a digital ad blitz featuring Barrett. It showed the pre-planning that went into her selection and also how the nomination was essentially hers from the start.

AP’s coverage of the announcement dominated the news cycle.

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