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AP dominates French election coverage with nimble live video

A screen shows French President Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen at Le Pen’s election day headquarters in Paris, April 10, 2022. Macron and Le Pen led Sunday’s first round of voting and will face each other in an April 24 runoff. (AP Photo / Francois Mori)

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Jeff Schaeffer and the Paris video team used sharp planning and fast election day pivots to put AP well ahead of the competition, delivering unmatched live and edited video coverage of the first round of France’s presidential election — a vote with implications for Europe’s future.

With rich experience covering French elections, and knowing what customers would want most to tell this story, senior producer Schaeffer worked with colleagues and editors around the AP to broadcast live coverage from dawn until nearly midnight, including six candidates voting around France and four of the candidates reacting to the results. Colleagues had fought hard for access to each candidate despite the campaign staffs’ preference for French media. The AP team leveraged years of source cultivation and AP’s record of professional, balanced coverage in a divisive, highly charged election.

As the election unfolded Sunday,Schaeffer recognized leading French broadcasters heavily using AP’s morning live feed from voting stations. Seeing the demand,he and the team quickly committed to live coverage throughout the day. That usage by French broadcasters was particularly telling: They chose AP over their own coverage — and crucially,over AP’s major French competitor,a tribute to the broad, balanced coverage which dominated AP’s live offerings throughout the day.

The video journalism also informed AP’s widely used text stories and complemented the vibrant and varied photo report,from Catholic nuns voting in the northeast to women in Muslim headscarves voting in Marseille.

The success drew praise from customers and puts AP in a strong competitive position for the decisive April 24 runoff between President Emmanuel Macron and far-right National Rally candidate Marine Le Pen, an election that could upend France’s system of governance and Europe’s dynamics should Le Pen be victorious.

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