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Award-winning photojournalist J. David Ake named AP director of photography

J. David Ake, deputy bureau chief for visual journalism at the AP Washington bureau, has been promoted to director of photography for The Associated Press.

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J, David Ake (AP Photo)

The announcement was made Thursday by Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Sally Buzbee.

Ake, one of the news agency’s most experienced photos staffers, will direct the creative vision for AP’s award-winning daily photos report, ensuring AP delivers high-quality photojournalism to its member news organizations and customers.

He will oversee the sports and entertainment photo managers and guide and mentor AP photographers and photo editors across the globe.

“David is an accomplished and visionary photographer and editor. He also is a true leader, with a track record of identifying and mentoring talent, and of leading change,” said Buzbee. “He’s also approachable and highly collaborative, just the kind of leader we need to build on the legacy of AP photojournalism and lead it into the future.”

In his new role, Ake will report to Derl McCrudden, deputy managing editor for visual and digital journalism, and will be a member of AP’s editorial leadership team. He will be based in New York.

As deputy bureau chief in Washington, Ake directed photo coverage of several high-profile beats, such as the White House, Capitol Hill, the Pentagon and the State Department. He also led national political coverage, including the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

Ake previously served as AP’s deputy director of photography, where he oversaw photo coverage of major news events including the 9/11 terror attacks and Hurricane Katrina. He has directed coverage of numerous national stories, such as the Columbine school shooting, the 2000 presidential recount and the crashes of Swissair Flight 111 off Nova Scotia and Alaska Airlines Flight 261 near Los Angeles.

Ake joined AP in 1997 as a photo editor at the Chicago bureau. He previously worked for Reuters, United Press International and Agence France-Presse, where he captured the presidencies of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton as a White House photographer.

An accomplished photojournalist, Ake has documented major news stories in over two dozen countries on six continents. His sports credits include eight Olympics, more than 25 Super Bowls, six World Series, eight NBA championships and more.

Ake has been honored by the White House News Photographers Association, National Press Photographers Association and the Colorado Press Association.

The outstanding work of AP photojournalists has been recognized with numerous awards, including 31 Pulitzer Prizes for photography. AP publishes one million photos per year.


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Lauren Easton
Director of Media Relations
The Associated Press
212-621-7005
leaston@ap.org