Best of AP — Second Winner


Teamwork and planning are key to success in coverage of 30th anniversary of Rwanda’s genocide

Children practise fencing game, on the outskirts of Kigali, Rwanda, Tuesday, April 4, 2024. The country will commemorate on April 7, 2024 the 30th anniversary of the genocide when ethnic Hutu extremists killed neighbours, friends and family during a three-month rampage of violence aimed at ethnic Tutsis and some moderate Hutus, leaving a death toll that Rwanda puts at 1,000,050. AP PHOTO / BRIAN INGANGA


The breadth of the body of work created by AP’s team in just five days on the ground in Rwanda covering the 30th anniversary of the genocide shows off the skills of storyteller Rodney Muhumuza, supported by our stringer Ignatius Ssuuna and the artistry of new hires Brian Inganga and Jackson Njehia, carrying on a legacy of authoritative AP reporting and explaining of the horrors of 1994 and their consequences.

Arriving in Kigali after weeks of effort to secure visa and press accreditations, the team’s first focus was reporting on the mass graves that continue to be found. Muhumuza took prereporting from our longtime Kigali stringer Ignatius Ssuuna on recent discoveries, followed up with the team by visiting the communities and secured an interview with the head of a leading survivors association.

While the new mass graves underscore the scale of the killings, AP’s reporting uniquely showed how they also illustrate the cracks in the reconciliation process. Rwanda may be progressing economically, but people are careful with their words in this authoritarian state, so when the head of the survivors’ group mentioned dog carcasses being dumped at mass grave sites, Rodney knew he had come across a rarely heard element of the ongoing story 30 years on.

Muhumuza had a clear sense of how his stories would follow each other, beginning with the preview, so that there was an artful, gradual injection of detail rather than packing too much into the story from the beginning, building up to Monday’s coverage of the news conference with President Kagame, delivered for text within 20 minutes of its conclusion.

As a body of work, focusing on youth, dance, stories of love and reconciliation as well as enduring tensions, the team achieved everything asked of them. Jacqueline Larma, one of AP’s Pulitzer winning team from 1994, was called on to curate a powerful selection of AP’s best work, highlighting the organization’s long-term commitment to the importance of being witness to events.

The daily routine required stamina from the team, reporting till late, writing and editing, filing, waking up early to answer questions and check backreads so that our stories could keep moving.

AP’s video packages, with strong fresh color, analysis, carefully selected files and many reasons for optimism secured over 1,500 video hits with clients on Teletrax.

For an extraordinary effort to revisit one of the worst genocides of recent history, the team of Muhumuza, Njehia, Inganga, Ssuuna and Larma are Best of AP — Second Winner.

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