Best of the Week

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AP sets authoritative tone in Titanic submersible coverage

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A report that a deep-ocean submersible was missing near the North Atlantic site of the Titanic was confirmed early in the week by a small group of AP reporters. What came next was a marathon of coverage that spanned nearly every hour of the day for the rest of the week, with the world waiting as 96 hours of breathable air inside the submersible would have been slipping away.   

Toronto correspondent Rob Gillies first confirmed the news Monday and Concord, New Hampshire, newswoman Holly Ramer began researching — soon discovering that Ben Finley in Norfolk, Virginia, had written about the submersible company in 2021. Finley offered sources and background as Ramer called the company’s advisor, who gave AP the first information about how much oxygen the submersible had and when it might run out. AP broke the news of the 96-hour timeline, a moment that set off a ticking clock for a rescue that was watched around the world.    

Patrick Whittle in Portland began on Tuesday morning by going through his vast network of oceanic sources. Across the globe, Jon Gambrell, Jennifer McDermott, Lolita Baldor, Mark Pratt, Steve LeBlanc, Gene Johnson, David Sharp, Mike Casey, Ed Komenda, Danica Kirka, Munir Ahmed, Stefanie Dazio, Leon Ramirez and others began working various angles that would keep our wires busy with sidebars for days.    

Denise Lavoie helped write, and editors including Lisa Adams refined and strengthened the copy. Steven Senne and Bob Bukaty made spot pictures and helped obtain handout visuals. Meanwhile, Rodrique Ngowi held live video shots while editing together smart visual explainers. We also had a graphic with key details produced by Whittle, Phil Holm and Peter Hamlin. As the story unfolded over the course of the week, it revealed an industry that largely lacks regulation and oversight.   

The coverage contributed to AP digital platforms’ strongest week of the year, with 9.6 million page views across the web and app on Wednesday. Ramirez’s fact-check about the Titan became the week’s most-viewed story. The Titan sub explainer detailing the latest in the investigation was our second-most engaged story, with an engagement score of 95. Traffic was enhanced by multiple breakout stories to highlight key topics of interest among readers.   

For using the breadth of the AP to successfully tell a fast-moving story from multiple angles, the AP Titan team wins this week’s first citation for Best of the Week.  

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