Best of AP — Honorable Mention


AP celebrates diverse veterans, a centenarian wedding in coverage of D-Day 80th anniversary

US WWII veteran Harold Terens, 100, left, and Jeanne Swerlin, 96, arrive to celebrate their wedding at the town hall of Carentan-les-Marais, in Normandy, northwestern France, on Saturday, June 8, 2024. AP PHOTO / JEREMIAS GONZALEZ

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Years of planning, source-building and cross-Atlantic teamwork meant the Associated Press was able to offer wide-ranging coverage across all formats on the 80th anniversary of D-Day. 

AP’s Paris team knew the 80th anniversary of D-Day would be a big one, possibly the last big anniversary with surviving veterans of history’s biggest amphibian invasion. Based on lessons from previous anniversary events, Jeff Schaeffer started courting sources and hunting accommodations in Normandy back in 2022. He led the team in carefully plotting transport for AP journalists around blocked Normandy roads, overcame weak comms signals in rural coastal zones — and efforts by major broadcasters and sponsors to privatize access to the few remaining D-Day veterans.  

John Leicester used his deep knowledge of the region and the story to dig up exclusive nuggets like a 100-year-old veteran marrying his 96-year-old sweetheart on the Normandy coast, and exclusively covered a ceremony for a Black US medic receiving a posthumous honor, thanks to a tip from Rebecca Santana in Washington. 

Virginia Mayo, Sylvie Corbet and Danica Kirka highlighted the diversity of those who took part in D-Day, including women behind the scenes, a Native American veteran and an AP photographer buried near Omaha Beach.  

Emails and online messages poured in sharing appreciation for AP’s coverage from families of D-Day veterans, members of the US military and others. 

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