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US, Asia teams dominate coverage of Typhoon Mawar amid extraordinary reporting challenges

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Spanning five time zones, Associated Press staff came together in all formats to dominate coverage of Typhoon Mawar’s direct hit on Guam. The teams overcame extraordinary reporting challenges, including a 17-hour time difference, a communications blackout and a lack of AP reporting resources on the remote island bit by the storm.

AP Honolulu’s Jennifer Kelleher got word of the approaching storm and the bureau swung into action, tapping in a Guam stringer for text and photo coverage a full day before the storm hit. Then AP contacted the Guam Pacific Daily News and KUAM-TV and forged an agreement with the publisher for photo sharing and blanket storm video clearance.

As the storm approached, Honolulu’s Audrey McAvoy worked until 3 a.m. Eastern and handed off to U.S. overnight supervisor Shameka Dudley-Lowe, who then handed off to East Coast national early flex writer Sarah Brumfield. Video staff in Bangkok aggressively sought UGC while colleagues in the U.S. West were sleeping.

Asia video producer Annika Wolters secured early UGC from those weathering the storm on Guam and, working with Washington, D.C., overnight video producer Rod Jussim, got out multiple NR/CR video edits. Finally, U.S. West staffers Stef Dazio, in Los Angeles; Ed Komenda, in Seattle; and Audrey McAvoy, in Hawaii, took up the work as Asia went to bed after the storm hit.

Teletrax showed wide usage across AP members, with nearly 1,300 downloads. The Weather Channel, CBS, Fox News, Sky News, Deutsche Welle, Al Jazeera English, CTV, CCTV, NHK, Telemundo and Univision were among the many broadcasters who used the video.

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