Multiformat journalists and staffers around the world are among the winners of the 2017 Oliver S. Gramling Awards, the highest internal honor of The Associated Press.
Created in 1994 to recognize AP staffers for professional excellence, the Gramlings are decided each year by a panel of judges from across the news cooperative who evaluate submissions in four categories: journalism, achievement, spirit and scholarship.
The awards, ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, come from an estate set up by the late AP broadcast executive Oliver S. Gramling.
“The winners represent AP’s global reach and a passion for the important work we do every day,” said AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt. “While their roles at AP may differ, they have one thing in common: a fervent dedication to AP’s mission to inform the world. I am inspired by their work.”
Here are the 2017 winners:
$10,000 Oliver S. Gramling Journalism Awards
- Caracas, Venezuela, reporting team
Though the journalism award customarily goes to individuals, the judges decided to present it to photographers Ariana Cubillos and Fernando Llano, video journalist Ricardo Nunes and newsperson Fabiola Sanchez because of their compelling work documenting one of the most turbulent political and economic upheavals Latin America has seen in decades. From an attack by crowbar-wielding militants on opposition lawmakers to a young violinist staring down police, their multiformat coverage has been varied and remarkable. The team maintains an unflinching commitment to the story without fear or favor, often at considerable personal risk.
- Balint Szlanko, video journalist, Irbil, Iraq
Critical to AP’s competitive and award-winning coverage of the war against the Islamic State group, Szlanko led the cross-format Mosul team in a dangerous and chaotic environment while managing operations including facilities, communications and transport. Szlanko, originally a text reporter, has embraced video, moving with ease across formats. His sound editorial judgment and extensive work behind the scenes to secure freelance contributors and work with a key local broadcaster broadened AP’s coverage across northern Iraq and allowed for a rich, unmatched news report.
- Wong Maye-E, photographer, Pyongyang, North Korea
Since she began photographing Pyongyang in 2013, Wong has shown the world what life is like inside North Korea more than any other photojournalist working today. Her body of work reveals a sensibility that portrays humanity under challenging conditions and does so with her unique brand of sensitivity and a journalist's keen eye. Wong’s images range from the most candid and personal photos of the country’s people in their everyday lives to rare glimpses of leader Kim Jong Un. Beyond photography, she is an inspirational teacher who is empathetic, encouraging and beloved by her colleagues.
$10,000 Oliver S. Gramling Achievement Award
- Mark Davies, global news manager, New York
By taking ownership of AP’s content analytics, Davies has been the driving force in transforming the way the news department makes editorial decisions. His knowledge, understanding and analysis of metrics has provided insight into how AP can repackage its editorial content to maximize its audience and worth for member news organizations and customers. Combining data from multiple sources, Davies has helped track which AP news stories are trending on social networks as well as monitor the use of AP content. This critical information helps editors make decisions about what stories to chase, expand upon or pull back from.
$5,000 Oliver S. Gramling Spirit Awards
- Anne Gillen, product manager, New York
Navigating the complex world of products and content entitlements, Gillen juggles thousands of AP customers and a half-dozen business models. Few people understand the intricacies of AP’s products and delivery platforms as she does, and she works tirelessly across all continents and time zones to ensure the processes run smoothly. Gillen’s colleagues draw upon her wealth of institutional knowledge, which she gladly shares by training and mentoring staffers across AP. It is the work of Gillen and her team behind the scenes that ensures AP content reaches customers and ultimately the world.
- Varya Kudryavtseva, editorial assistant, Moscow
When AP became the first American news outlet to travel with the Russian military in Syria, the Moscow bureau was flooded with phone calls asking how we did it. The answer was Kudryavtseva, who persisted for nearly a year in requesting access to the air base in Syria and arranging AP’s embed. Since joining AP in 1986 as a translator, Kudryavtseva has been vital to AP’s coverage of Russia, helping colleagues in all formats in Moscow and across AP offices in the former Soviet republics. Her contributions to AP’s reporting go beyond her formal job title; she is the person who makes a story happen.
- Fu Ting, editorial assistant, Shanghai
Indispensable to reporters, Fu has for years been a backbone of AP’s China staff. Her duties require a unique set of administrative and editorial skills, a job she approaches with vigor. Fu has shown remarkable stamina in pursuing comment from government officials and patiently pushing past barriers to newsgathering. Her persistence was key in winning rare access to the Ministry of Public Security in Beijing, which gave AP an unprecedented face-to-face interview to discuss the supply of deadly synthetic opioids. A brave, savvy, collegial and focused colleague, Fu’s approach to her work is inspiring in China and beyond.
$5,000 Oliver S. Gramling Scholarship Awards
- David Keyton, video journalist, Stockholm
Keyton, who recently used a drone to gather remarkable visuals while reporting on the Arctic Circle’s Northwest Passage, will use his scholarship to pay for two drone-related courses. The first will lead to a license allowing him to use a drone, while the second offers a masterclass in drone video. The training will supply him with essential skills in optimizing drone footage for the AP news report.
- Igor Libman, senior technology designer, New York
Libman, who has worked on the user experience of AP’s key customer-facing platforms, will apply the funds to two courses critical to that function. A course in Angular JS will enable him to help improve the quality of AP’s portal experience, while a React JS course will help boost productivity. The skills will allow Libman to lead the modernization of the way the product design team delivers AP content.
Get to know the winners: