Best of AP — Honorable Mention


Series by AP and partners reveals Colorado River near crisis

Alyssa Chubbuck, left, and Dan Bennett embrace while watching the sunset at Guano Point overlooking the Colorado River on the Hualapai reservation in northwestern Arizona, Aug. 15, 2022. Roughly 600,000 tourists visit the reservation annually, but despite the Colorado River bordering more than 100 miles of Hualapai land, the tribe can’t draw from it. The 1922 Colorado River Compact that divided the water among states didn’t include a share for tribes. Now that the river is shrinking, tribes want the federal government to ensure their interests are protected. (AP Photo / John Locher)


The Associated Press partnered with six news organizations, collaborating on all-formats coverage from all corners of the Colorado River basin. Journalists from the AP and the member news outlets leveraged each other’s strengths to build a comprehensive, visually engaging and illuminating series on the state of one of America’s most important rivers, which is approaching a crisis point because of climate change and overuse.

The AP teamed up with the Colorado Sun, Albuquerque Journal, Salt Lake Tribune, Arizona Daily Star, Nevada Independent and Santa Fe New Mexican, all contributing stories from their respective states.

The package drew on expertise from across the AP. Reporters Felicia Fonseca,Suman Naishadham,Kathleen Ronayne and Mead Gruver,and video journalist Brittany Peterson,all had stories,with photos from staffers Greg Bull,John Locher and Rick Bowmer. Climate photo editor Alyssa Goodman worked with both the AP photographers and photo editors at the various papers,putting together featured posts. Peterson,Locher and Rockies news editor Brady McCombs delivered video,working with Climate video editor Teresa Miguel.

Climate data journalists Camille Fassett and Mary Katherine Wildeman analyzed water levels,usage and other metrics,elevating the stories,along with animations produced by Darrell Allen,deputy director for digital design, and animation producer Panagiotis Mouzakis.

Climate accountability editor Ingrid Lobet,environmental editor Tim Reiterman and Climate news director Peter Prengaman edited the AP stories. Prengaman also worked with reporters and editors from the partner organizations on the development of their stories. Participating member journalists included reporters Chris Outcalt,Tony Davis,Theresa Davis,Daniel Rothberg and Zak Podmore,and photographer Hugh Carey.

AP Climate engagement manager Natalia Gutierrez made a robust social media plan for each day of the week, and News editor McCombs also wrote a Localize It guide.

The series included 11 text stories,with photos and animations for each,exploring the river from the perspectives of all seven basin states,Native American tribes and Mexico. The package featured two in-depth video pieces, an overview of how the river got to this point and the challenges tribes face to exercise their water rights.

One week after the series launch,the stories had been picked up by more than 1,100 outlets. Organizations using the rich content included the Washington Post,Miami Herald,PBS News Hour,USA Today,MSN, Yahoo and ABC News.

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