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Despite great physical risks, AP delivers searing live coverage of clashes in Kosovo 

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Their deep experience meant they knew something big was about to happen when minor disturbances broke out following mayoral victories by ethnic Albanians in Serb-majority towns where Serbs overwhelmingly boycotted the elections.   

At the time, there were just simmering tensions in northern Kosovo. But Stjepanovic‘s and Radovanovic’s instincts told them to deploy immediately. Soon, the situation unraveled as ethnic Serb demonstrators began clashing with NATO-led peacekeepers. Video journalist Stjepanovic and producer Radovanovic were at the heart of the action, documenting the story and broadcasting it live, even with Molotov cocktails and tear gas flying less than a stone’s throw away.    

Some journalists fled the scene, and others were targeted while trying to cover the story. Stjepanovic and Radovanovic stayed. They found a balcony just above the fray that offered a wide view of the clashes, where soldiers were being pelted with rocks and firearms were being discharged. They delivered live shots through it all, a feat unmatched by local channels, let alone international competitors.    

When the violence finally cooled, 30 international soldiers and more than 50 protesters had been injured. The crew delivered 11 hours of live coverage through it, and Belgrade producer Ivana Bzganovic swiftly produced multiple edits that won hundreds of hits.   

Local and regional broadcasters relied on that video for coverage, even when they had crews on site. Because of it, AP has already received requests to sign up for Live Choice service, and broadcasters in the Balkans who are not customers are starting negotiations.   

The video dovetailed with coverage delivered by a team including photo stringer Bojan Slavkovic, from North Mitrovica, as well as reporters Dusan Stojanovic and Jovana Gec in Belgrade and Llazar Semini in Albania, all led by News Director for Central and Eastern Europe Amer Cohadzic.    

For showing immense bravery in providing images no one else could, Stjepanovic, Radovanovic and Bzganovic are this week’s Best of the Week — First Winner.  

Visit AP.org to request a trial subscription to AP’s video, photo and text services.

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