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All-formats team delivers sweeping coverage of Canada blockades against COVID restrictions

Drivers block lanes of traffic in Ottawa, Ontario, Feb. 14, 2022, as trucks and other vehicles joined the “freedom convoy” protests against Canadian COVID restrictions. The protests in Ottawa and elsewhere, including the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, snarled traffic and disrupted international commerce. (AP Photo / Ted Shaffrey)

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A team of AP journalists produced standout all-formats coverage of the protests by Canadian truckers that stifled trade, paralyzed the country’s capital city and elicited support from right-wing backers in the U.S. and around the world.

The story required coordination and teamwork across the AP, including deployment of journalists to Ottawa and Windsor, Ontario, and the deep sourcing and expertise of Canada correspondent Rob Gillies, who often worked around-the-clock to cover the story.

When truckers launched a blockade in Windsor,Ontario,that choked commerce and halted production in the auto industry,Detroit video journalist Mike Householder and reporter Corey Williams rushed to the scene,capturing detail and color of the protest and establishing live shots that saw wide use among AP clients.

New York video journalists Robert Bumsted and Ted Shaffrey,and Vermont reporter Wilson Ring,also arrived in Ottawa,working closely with Toronto-based Gillies to break news on the protests, the response by the Canadian government and ultimately the breakup of the demonstration. AP’s on-the-ground presence in the freezing cold infused the stories with the voices of protesters — no easy task given the hostility of demonstrators toward the media — as well as color and descriptive detail as police moved in.

AP’s reporting on such developments was routinely ahead of the competition. The story also benefited from a heavy dose of teamwork: After a tip from Gillies and news editor Roger Schneider,Williams and Householder were positioned to break news as the Windsor bridge blockade ended; they were up with live video throughout. And drawing on AP’s 50-state footprint,reporters and writers in Ohio,Wisconsin,Oregon and Illinois pitched in. Members of the religion and investigative teams also jumped in, producing enterprise coverage off the news.

The video team delivered a flurry of pieces and live shots that won wide usage by customers. One video piece in particular was downloaded 170 times by clients,and the live shots were especially popular with outlets that included ABC,Fox,The New York Times and TBS Tokyo. The text coverage was among the most-viewed on AP News and landed on the front pages of major U.S. papers.

For a collaborative effort that put AP out front with coverage earning global attention,the team of Gillies,Shaffrey,Householder,Bumsted, Ring and Williams is AP’s Best of the Week — Second Winner.

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