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India team delivers fast, comprehensive coverage of one of the country’s deadliest train disasters 

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That didn’t stop the team from stepping up in a major way to cover one of the country’s deadliest rail crashes in decades and dominating across formats.   

Delhi newsperson Ashok Sharma put out an initial alert of 179 injured. Several other alerts followed as the death toll mounted and the numbers of those hurt multiplied.   

As Sharma worked quickly to send out updates to the story, video journalists Rishi Lekhi and Piyush Nagpal worked through the night to turn around edits of picked-up video from the crash site, as did Manish Swarup on photos.   

Delhi correspondent Krutika Pathi joined Sharma on the text story, first from Delhi and later on the scene. Mumbai-based photographer Rafiq Maqbool made the grueling drive to the remote crash site in Balasore from the nearest airport in the regional capital. Once he was the first AP staffer on the scene, he filed quickly to all formats.   

Maqbool, Pathi and Lekhi worked through scorching temperatures to document the tragedy and capture victims’ accounts across formats.   

Back in Delhi, Sharma and Sheikh Saaliq continuously updated the main text story and sidebars, including an early look at India’s spotty rail safety history. Alan Clendenning on AP’s Nerve Center added to the mix with a glance on past accidents. Other members of the India team would also lend a hand in the hours and days that followed.  

Despite having challenges accessing the remote site and relying on video picked up from customers for its earliest visual coverage, the AP team was fast and thorough during the entire coverage. One of AP’s alerts on a big spike in the death count came a half-hour before The New York Times’ alert.    

The coverage by AP was widely used by customers. All of the top video edits used by customers over that weekend were of the crash, with all of them having higher-than-usual interest.   

The main text story was the most-downloaded story by customers, and the second-most widely read on APNews well over a day after the crash.   

For comprehensive coverage of a major disaster delivered quickly across formats and with strong teamwork, this team earns Best of the Week — Second Winner. 

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