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Collaboration across continents keeps AP ahead on journalist’s release

American journalist Danny Fenster, center, hugs his mother Rose Fenster, accompanied by former U.S. diplomat Bill Richardson, right, at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, Nov. 16, 2021. Richardson helped negotiate Fenster’s release after he was sentenced to 11 years of hard labor in military-ruled Myanmar. (AP Photo / Seth Wenig)

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During a routine Asian planning call former U.S. diplomat Bill Richardson made an unexpected statement that American journalist Danny Fenster was free from prison in Myanmar and heading home via Qatar. The Asia crew had covered Fenster’s detention closely and were primed to make sure AP stayed ahead. Building on close contacts they’d nurtured with Richardson’s team, AP coordinated with its bureaus across continents to meet Fenster and Richardson en route to deliver visuals, video and text in advance of the competition.

Southeast Asia news director Kiko Rosario alerted Bangkok reporter Grant Peck to break the news that Fenster was free and traveling with Richardson. Peck and Asian-Pacific correspondent David Rising anchored the fast-moving story,then Asia news director Adam Schreck worked with his Persian Gulf counterpart,Jon Gambrell,who arranged for a freelancer to get comments and visuals of Fenster in Qatar.

The Asia team also coordinated with New York. where photographers Craig Ruttle and Seth Wenig captured images of Fenster’s arrival. Reporter Bobby Calvan,with video journalists Ted Shaffrey and Joe Frederick, then secured interviews with Fenster and Richardson after their news conference.

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