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From vote count to race calls to mood of the electorate, AP commits ‘single largest act of journalism’

Voters line up to cast their midterm election ballos at the Aspray Boat House in Warwick, R.I., Nov. 8, 2022. (AP Photo / David Goldman)

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AP delivered stellar work on the 2022 midterm elections with fast,accurate vote count and race calling; engaging explanatory journalism,unparalleled insight into the minds of voters thanks to AP VoteCast survey methodology; and ambitious,robust all-formats coverage that chronicled an unexpectedly successful election for Democrats and the defeat of many candidates who supported the baseless claims that the 2020 election was mired in fraud.

The key to that success was collaboration among formats,teams,departments and more across the entire AP,not just on Election Day but in the weeks and months leading up to Nov. 8 and beyond. This was AP teamwork at its absolute best. As Election Decision Editor Stephen Ohlemacher likes to say, elections at AP are the single largest acts of journalism every two years.

Among the many highlights:

AP’s team of 60 race callers and election analysts provided accurate and timely race calls in thousands of elections,under the weight of election night pressure,using new technology they had spent months learning and practicing,contributing to informed,confident calls. A week after the election,the race calling team had declared winners in 4,435 contested races — and counting.

The AP’s expanded national politics team and its new democracy team produced ambitious coverage that frequently broke news and ensured the AP was ahead of all the competition. Those teams frequently paired up with AP journalists across the U.S.,showcasing the AP’s unmatched footprint in all 50 states.

Elections content drove nearly 12 million pageviews on AP News and ranked high in Google search results through election week. More than half of the traffic from our work came from search as AP’s editorial and product teams worked to optimize our coverage to meet search needs, for our customers and AP News readers.

Among the week’s top stories:

Explanatory coverage was fast and expansive across text and video. In addition to explaining all the key AP race calls,the team produced stories — across formats — that detailed the democratic process and elections, working closely with the news verification and other reporting teams. AP also made its debut on TikTok as part of an initiative to reach new and younger audiences and counter misinformation.

AP VoteCast enriched AP’s storytelling across the country and in nine of the most closely watched states with important and exclusive reporting on voter attitudes,which included widespread pessimism about the state of the country and its future. The VoteCast team also provided insight for deeper analysis of how abortion access, the future of democracy and other issues influenced voters.

The interactive news team developed a suite of real-time data visualizations used to monitor the election results, available on the AP Newsroom platform and embedded on hundreds of customer news sites around the world. The visualizations were translated into 20 languages and viewed nearly 20 million times on election night and the days following.

The Live Updates team produced curated, engaging “live blog”-style coverage on Election Day and Nov. 9,notching more than 960,000 views combined. Tuesday’s version was AP’s fourth most-viewed story for the week,and Wednesday’s version also in the Top 10.

Strong collaboration and planning between the digital audience team and the Washington team ensured the AP was fast,comprehensive, accurate and engaging on social media and AP News.

Three of AP’s top posts on Twitter,by impressions,were race-call graphics that were designed specifically for this election. These led to increasd reader engagement and were widely shared and commented on,while our look at historic firsts resonated with audiences across platforms,from push to social and video and made up four of our top Facebook posts.

The photo team also produced an unmatched range of coverage for the elections. On Nov. 8 and 9,Washington photo editors moved over 800 images — a majority of those filed remotely by photographers directly from their cameras. The New York photo desk moved another 2,000 election images. More than 80 photographers — a combination of staff and freelancers — covered the races from Maine to Hawaii. One photo package featured portraits and profiles of voters.

For video,the AP had a record 30 live cameras across the U.S. on Election Day and more than 36 hours of continuous coverage. AP filed over 200 election video edits,and both client and consumer edits outperformed usage in previous elections. The average newsroom video edit was used 138 times,and post-election night vote counting video stories hit an extraordinary 1,000-plus on-air uses. Across Twitter,Facebook,Instagram and TikTok, the digital-produced social videos — in combination with consumer ready video — earned nearly 10 million views for the week. A selection of video edits is compiled on YouTube.

”According to the AP” was a consistent refrain from AP members,clients and TV commentators. Quite simply,the election was not considered called until the AP said it was.

For reinforcing the cooperative’s longstanding reputation as the benchmark of U.S. election coverage, AP’s vast U.S. elections team earns Best of the Week — First Winner honors.

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