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‘You had me at AP’: Sweeping coverage of Jan. 6 anniversary showcases AP’s depth and range

Supporters of President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

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From a coffeehouse in rural Virginia to the marbled halls of Congress, the AP’s first-anniversary coverage of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol stood out for its depth and powerful presentation, with exclusive content across text, photos and video, including an AP interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Washington writer Cal Woodward took readers to a tightly knit town in Virginia,where illustrating the nation’s polarization has become as easy as a walk down the street. The assignment also demonstrated AP’s trusted reputation when both Trump and Biden supporters quickly agreed to speak with Cal. “You had me at AP,” said one strong Trump supporter, instantly warming to Woodward’s interview request.

Michael Biesecker,national investigative reporter, delivered a deeply reported profile of protester Ashli Babbitt that was No. 1 on apnews.com and had several million impressions on Twitter, while congressional reporter Mary Clare Jalonick used her years of source development to deliver a mobile-friendly account of Jan. 6 from the perspective of 10 House Democrats.

Showcasing the AP’s national reach and range, a story by Kansas-based reporter Heather Hollingsworth explained that teachers may approach instruction about the event differently depending on whether they’re in a red or blue state, and a piece by arts and entertainment writer Jake Coyle explained how memories can evolve — and why some recall the riot as a peaceful protest. Reporter David Klepper examined how various conspiracy theories have warped many people’s views of Jan. 6. The reporting was reinforced by an AP Poll that showed four in 10 Republicans do not consider the day particularly violent.

On the visual front, top stories photo editor Alyssa Goodman edited a gallery of images that highlighted how nine AP photographers captured defining images both inside and outside the Capitol,giving the world a front-row seat to the events a year ago. The photos were interspersed with video loops and first-person accounts from Andrew Harnik and Julio Cortez, who recalled watching protesters attack fellow AP photographer John Minchillo.

Veteran photographer Scott Applewhite wrote a gripping first-person account of sitting in the House gallery as the riot unfolded, and how he captured what would become one of the most iconic images from the day as protesters pressed against the door to the chamber:

“There was an eye, trying to see inside — the face of one of the rioters wearing a Trump hat. What he did not see were the guns aiming inches from his face. I kept steady and held tight on that spot.”

— Photographer J. Scott Applewhite

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In Scotty we trust. At left, police hold guns on protesters trying to break into the chamber of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021. At right, AP photographer Scott Applewhite keeps his camera trained on the scene from the chamber’s press gallery. – AP Photos / J. Scott Applewhite (left); Andrew Harnik

For video, Nathan Ellgren edited a 9-minute timeline that starkly captured the day’s violence. And in a major exclusive,correspondent Lisa Mascaro,working with Deputy Bureau Chief Jack Auresto and the video team, managed to secure The AP Interview with House Speaker Pelosi,who chose to sit down with AP rather than the networks on the eve of the anniversary. Video edits were out within 20 minutes of the interview and clips immediately began airing around the world,scoring heavy usage, including on CBS News and other networks.

Others who contributed to the coverage included: Mike Balsamo,Eric Tucker,Farnoush Amiri,Brian Slodysko,Alan Fram,Kevin Freking,Zeke Miller,Colleen Long,Nomaan Merchant,Jill Colvin,Padmananda Rama,Dan Huff,Rick Gentilo,Tracy Brown,Kelly Daschle,Donna Starddard,Manuel Balce Ceneta,Jon Elswick,Jennifer Kane,Carolyn Kaster,Jose Magana,Jacquelyn Martin,Wayne Partlow,Evan Vucci,Mike Kunzelman,Jacques Billeaud and Lindsay Whitehurst.

For demonstrating the AP’s ability to deliver best-in-class content across platforms on this major anniversary, the team behind the Jan. 6 coverage is AP’s Best of the Week — First Winner.

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