Best of AP — Second Winner


Baldor, Copp break news that Biden picked Colorado for Space Command HQ


As Biden contemplated his choice, Pentagon reporters Lolita C. Baldor and Tara Copp were routinely checking in with their sources for any updates. Their due diligence — as well as Baldor and Copp’s extensive sourcing and expertise in covering the military — paid off, as the two were the first to report Biden’s decision that Space Command would remain in Colorado.

Soon after Biden made his decision, Baldor and Copp moved rapidly to report and confirm the details while pulling together background from their previous stories on the topic — knowing that their speed was of the essence, while other journalists were likely chasing the news as well.

In the end, Baldor and Copp’s story beat every other news outlet. Not only were Baldor and Copp first to report the news, but they also took readers inside the key decision-making process and the internal divisions among top military officials on what Biden should do.

Among those details: Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, who had conducted his own review of the potential relocation, wanted Space Command to be located in Alabama, while Gen. James Dickinson, the head of Space Command, argued that moving his headquarters now would jeopardize military readiness. Baldor and Copp reported that Biden was ultimately swayed by Dickinson’s case.

And readers were clearly interested. Their story was No. 6 in overall play, with more than 131,000 views by the next morning and was the top story on social media. The high-profile blockade of military promotions by Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, which he has waged for months to protest a Pentagon policy concerning abortion, also heightened the political interest and intrigue in Biden’s decision — even as U.S. officials say the issue had no impact on the president’s call.

For an authoritative, detailed exclusive that had the rest of Washington scrambling to confirm, Baldor and Copp earn Best of the Week — Second Winner.

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