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Resourceful AP team leads coverage of stuck Suez ship

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Using satellite images, tracking data and healthy skepticism, the AP avoided the errors of its competitors to dominate the story of a massive cargo ship blocking in the Suez Canal. From the first day that the Ever Given wedged itself across the canal, authorities offered incorrect information, claiming the canal remained open to traffic and that the ship had been pulled aside. While others repeated those false claims, AP relied on tracking data to report the truth — the Suez Canal was completely cut off.

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Ships anchor in Lake Timsah, Ismailia, halfway through Egypt’s Suez Canal, March 25, 2021, as a massive cargo ship remained wedged across the vital waterway. – AP Photo / Sam Magdy

Cairo regional news director Maggie Hyde and her Dubai counterpart, Jon Gambrell, worked closely together on this complex story, directing coverage while also producing video and photo content as text reporter Sam Magdy and video journalist Ahmed Hatem worked on the ground in Suez despite tight restrictions.

AP’s relationship with the satellite photo provider Planet Labs gave AP an advantage of eight hours or more over major competitor agencies. Interviews recorded on Zoom and video of idle ships in the canal allowed clients to visualize the story — with one video edit being used by 118 channels. Text explainers added context that helped clients better tell the story that affected shipping and economies across the globe.

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