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APME recognizes outstanding work by AP staff
APME recognizes outstanding work by AP staff

July 27, 2005

NEW YORK (AP) — Heart-rending news accounts and photographs that helped bring the world's attention to the horrors of the Asian tsunami are being honored by the Associated Press Managing Editors association in its annual awards to AP staff.

Stories from scores of reporters who scrambled throughout the region in the first 24 hours of the rapidly unfolding story last December received APME's top award for deadline reporting. Images captured by 17 photographers of huge waves pounding shoreline villages and widespread destruction and personal grief took the news photography award.

Antonio Castaneda, in his first news posting with AP, was named the John L. Dougherty Award winner for his reporting under demanding conditions in Iraq. The award is given to a staffer with less than three years' journalism experience with the AP and less than five years' total news experience.

Paisley Dodds, then-AP's Caribbean news editor and now London bureau chief, won the enterprise reporting award for exclusive stories about controversial practices at the secretive U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Angie Wagner, a Western regional writer based on Las Vegas, received the feature writing award for her story about the touching bond between a 13-year-old Iraqi informant and a U.S. military unit.

Mark Scolforo, a newsman in Harrisburg, Pa., received the Charles Rowe Award for distinguished state reporting for planning and coordinating a state Freedom of Information audit in Pennsylvania.

The feature photography award went to Charles Krupa of Boston for an image of the crowd reacting and ducking for cover as a shattered bat flies into the stands during a spring training baseball game between the Florida Marlins and Minnesota Twins.

APME, an association of editors at 1,500 AP member newspapers in the U.S. and the Canadian Press in Canada, annually recognizes top performance by AP reporters, editors and photographers. This year's winners were selected during a meeting of the association's board of directors that concluded Monday in New York. The awards will be presented during the APME conference Oct. 26-29 in San Jose, Calif.

In honoring the tsunami coverage, the judges cited the enormous complexity and difficulty of providing a comprehensive, in-depth picture of a disaster whose scope multiplied by the hour. Reflecting the tsunami's wide swath, the deadline reporting and news photography awards were presented to teams of reporters, editors and photographers throughout Southeast and South Asia and around the world as the story broke.

AP's coverage began when Asia Desk morning editor Andrea Thomas felt a tremor in Bangkok, Thailand, filed an alert and phoned bureaus around the region to check it out. As the severity of the earthquake became apparent, followed by the huge, destructive waves battering coastline villages and cities in a wide area, the story quickly grew to include many bureaus around the world.

"The stories and sidebars swelled with incredible numbers and horrific details that truly captured the scope of this enormous natural disaster," the judges in the deadline reporting category said. "The writing was clean, clear and descriptive, and the reporting from country to country displayed what makes AP the best news source in the world."

While the work of many, the nomination singled out the efforts of Jakarta correspondent Lely Djuhari, Sri Lanka Chief of Bureau Dilip Ganguly, Singapore Chief of Bureau Chris Torchia, Thailand reporter Sutin Wannabovorn and Malaysia Chief of Bureau Vijay Joshi.

In picking images from 17 photographers for the news photography award, the judges said the vastness of the tsunami was difficult to comprehend. "AP's extensive photo coverage made the enormity of the story tragically real to people around the word. The photos stir a strong emotional response to the destruction, loss and grief," they said.

Photographers cited in the award were Achmad Ibrahim, Suzanne Plunkett, Irwin Fedriansyah and Dita Alangkara, Jakarta; Gemunu Amarasinghe in Colombo, Sri Lanka; Elizabeth Dalziel, Beijing; Peter Dejong, Amsterdam; Eugene Hoshiko, Shanghai; Jasper Juinen, Madrid; M. Lakshman, Madras; David Longstreath, Bangkok; Bullit Marquez, Manila; Saurabh Das, Gurinder Osan, Manish Swarup and Gautam Singh, New Delhi; and Vincent Thian, Kuala Lumpur.

Castaneda, a former administrative assistant on AP's International Desk in New York, has been in Iraq less than a year but has managed to produce numerous news and feature stories from the war-torn country.

Wagner was cited for a feature story "A Soldier's Promise" that explored the emotional connections between Steve-O, a young Iraqi informant, and the Fort Carson, Colo.-based Dragon Company, 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment. Despite initial reluctance by the unit to talk, Wagner persisted and finally was invited to come to Fort Carson when the boy was brought to the United States.

In a project requiring four months of legwork and reporting, Scolforo planned and coordinated a state FOI audit involving 52 news organizations in Pennsylvania. The results appeared as a weeklong series that dominated front pages across the state and was reprinted in a 16-page brochure.

The judges also cited the following work for honorable mention:

Deadline Reporting:

• Hurricane Ivan coverage: Staff.

• Uzbekistan Revolt: Bagila Bukharbayeva, Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Enterprise Reporting:

• Global Warming: Special Correspondent Charles Hanley, New York.

Feature Writing:

• A Decision About Death: National Writer Pauline Arrillaga, Phoenix.

• Ryan's Shot: Sports Columnist Tim Dahlberg, Las Vegas.

Dougherty Award:

• Matt Sedensky, Kansas City, Mo.

• Kristen Gelineau, Richmond, Va.

Rowe Award:

• Inmate Welfare: Kim Curtis, Bob Porterfield, San Francisco.

• Eric Rudolph and Richard Scrushy cases: Jay Reeves, Birmingham, Ala.

News Photography:

• Iraq staff: Mohammed Adnan, Nabil Al Jurani, David Guttenfelder, Bilal Hussein, Karim Kadim, Jim MacMillan, Hadi Mizban, Samir Mizban, Khalid Mohammed, Anja Niedringhaus, Jacob Silberberg, Mohammed Uraibi.

• Philippines fire: Aaron Favila, Manila.

Feature Photography:

• Olympic table tennis: Chitose Suzuki, Boston.

• President Bush and unwieldy umbrella: Charles Dharapak, Washington.

Associated Press Media Editors

APME is a professional network, a resource for helping editors and broadcasters improve their news coverage and newsroom operations.

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