AP’s Sequera Wins Prize for Chile Exclusives

Among the thousand-plus journalists who descended on Chile’s “Camp Hope” for the miners’ rescue were thirty-three journalists from the Associated Press. The AP has just given a prize to one of those reporters, Vivian Sequera, who lived and worked in the desert there for a month. Here at CJR we love valor-in-journalism stories, as well as journalism-by-hanging-around stories. So here’s an excerpt of the memo the AP put out about her work, highlighting her skill in developing sources for her reporting:

Often sleeping in an AP tent alongside the miners’ relatives and standing front and center at daily news conferences, Sequera soon knew everyone who mattered in the rescue operation.

At night, she shivered at bonfires with the women in the miners’ lives, gaining their confidence. She fed the AP story wiki with each miner’s bio, relatives’ names and cell phone numbers for use by all formats. She kept AP reporting accurate; When ANSA reported that drillers were hoarding gold, her sources knocked it down.

Soon, sources sought her out. When a list was briefly posted in the off-limits family camp showing the miners’ rescue order, relatives ran to Sequera with a snapshot on their cellphone.

Then there’s the other side of tenacious reporting, which is decidedly less glamorous and not always appropriate:

Just hours after the rescue ended, Sequera got an exclusive interview with lead engineers Andre Sougarret and Rene Aguilar by chasing down their car and, well, begging.

Whatever it takes, I guess.

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Lauren Kirchner is a freelance writer covering digital security for CJR. Find her on Twitter at @lkirchner