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Months of planning, source work allows AP to dominate Griner-Bout swap story

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With Brittney Griner, one of the WNBA’s greatest players, imprisoned in Russia, AP reporters in Washington, Moscow and Sports had been cultivating sources for months.

When Tucker and Lee got details from a source of a release the next morning, they discretely alerted colleagues around the world and worked into the night. The next morning, the White House tipped off another news organization that the release had happened, but AP immediately confirmed it with multiple sources and moved its own alert, followed by a full 950-word story within minutes that beat competitors by several minutes.

To get photos of Griner’s arrival, Oyekanmi and Gay brought everything to a San Antonio tarmac that was needed, including a ladder and agility to shoot over obstructions. After a 12-hour wait, and a three-hour drive from Houston for Oyekanmi, they scored photos used around the world.

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