Tag Archives: The Associated Press

AP, San Franciscan win Pulitzer Prizes

The Associated Press won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography Monday, 4 April 2005, for staff coverage of the Iraq insurgency over the past year, while a San Francisco Chronicle photographer won the feature photography prize for her heart-wrenching essay on an Iraqi boy who survived a blast in the war-torn nation.

The images that earned AP one of the most prestigious photojournalism awards depicted the human toll of violence on both sides of the Iraq conflict. In one photograph, a group of U.S. Marines huddle over a fallen comrade to pray, moments after he was fatally wounded in a battle with insurgents. Another picture shows the body of 18-month-old Mohammed Saleem in a rough-hewn wooden coffin before being laid to rest in Sadr City.

Several of the pictures represent the life-threatening situations in which photojournalists find themselves while covering the violence Iraq, yet the AP staffers managed to not only survive but triumph, capturing such exclusive images as: Iraqis cheering the deaths of four U.S. contractors, burned alive and strung up from a bridge in Fallujah; insurgents firing mortars against a U.S.-led military offensive; and the streetside execution of an Iraqi election worker in Baghdad.

Members of the prize-winning team are: Bilal HusseinKarim KadimBrennan LinsleyJim MacMillanSamir MizbanKhalid MohammedJohn B. MooreMuhammed MuheisenAnja NiedringhausMurad Sezer and Mohammed Uraibi. The prize includes $10,000.

San Francisco Chronicle photo by Deanne Fitzmaurice; Reprinted with permissionDeanne Fitzmaurice of the San Francisco Chronicle won the $10,000 prize for feature photography.

Operation Lion Heart” depicted the plight of 9-year-old Saleh Khalaf, an Iraqi boy who was severely maimed by an explosion that ripped open his abdomen, tore off his right hand and killed his older brother.

For 15 months, Fitzmaurice and Chronicle staff writer Meredith May followed Saleh — from the moment he arrived for rehabilitiation at Children’s Hospital in Oakland, Calif., through his eventual reunion with his family. In her series, Fitzmaurice captured the nuanced emotional and physical journey the boy endured.

Fitzmaurice, 47, a Chronicle staff photographer for 16 years, praised the boy’s indomitable spirit.

“Saleh could always laugh, even though he only spoke Arabic at first,” she said in a Chronicle story. “We bonded through the photography. I’d shoot pictures, then show him some on the back of the camera, and he’d get so excited.”

Iconic figure in Tiananmen protest remains unknown

Arguably the most recognizable photograph from the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in 1989 is the image of a lone, unarmed man standing in front of a line of 18 tanks. But years later, his true identity, as well as his fate, remains unknown, says the Los Angeles Times in a 4 June 2004 story marking the 15th anniversary of the violent protests that shocked the world.

Several human rights activists are quoted, guessing that the man was likely imprisoned or executed by the Chinese government, which does not officially acknowledge any civilian deaths. A British tabloid had identified him as Wang Wellin, but that report was determined to have been questionable.

The lone protester engaged in a shouting match with the lead tank’s driver before being whisked away by passers-by, the story relates.

Jeff Widener, the Associated Press photographer credited with taking the historic image, recalls, “I was just waiting for him to get blown away.”

Nixon claimed photo of victim was ‘fixed’

Former President Richard Nixon doubted the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of a naked 9-year-old Vietnamese girl fleeing a napalm attack was authentic, according to recently released White House tapes from the National Archives.

The black-and-white photograph by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut depicted a terrified girl running, her arms outstretched and her clothes burned off, from the burning village of Trang Bang, following an attack by U.S. forces on 8 June 1972.

“The Girl in the Picture: The Story of Kim Phuc, the Photograph, and the Vietnam War” by Denise Chong

On the tape, recorded in the Oval Office, Nixon talks with then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger about escalating the bombing of Vietnam and adds, “I’d rather use the nuclear bomb.” Nixon criticizes Kissinger for being concerned about civilian casualties.

“You’re so goddamned concerned about the civilians, and I don’t give a damn,” Nixon says. “I don’t care.”

He then says Ut’s famous photo was “fixed,” a comment that columnist Robert Scheer called “a sentiment worthy of Slobodan Milosevic.”

The Associated Press stood by the veracity of the photograph, according to published reports.

The girl was later identified as Phan Thi Kim Phuc, whose life following her unwilling fame was chronicled by Canadian journalist Denise Chong in her book, The Girl in the Picture: The Story of Kim Phuc, the Photograph and the Vietnam War

Judge upholds block on autopsy images

A Florida judge on 3 July 2001 upheld a state law restricting public acess to autopsy photos, The Associated Press reported in a story on the Editor & Publisher web site.

The effort by several Florida newspapers and a television station to have the March 2001 law overturned came after the death of auto racer Dale Earnhardt during the Daytona 500.

“The right to privacy, the right to freedom of press and speech, the right of the people to have access to public records, and the right to be left alone are important rights to all who live in this county,” wrote Circuit Judge Leroy Moe, according to the AP.

The Orlando Sentinel wanted an independent safety expert to review the photos to determine whether better safety equipment could have prevented the death, but the family’s outrage prompted the state Legislature to make unauthorized access to the photos a felony.

Sentinel attorney David Bralow said the newspaper will appeal the decision. 

Elián image, N.J. story win Pulitzer photo prizes

Al Diaz of The Associated Press, who captured the startling image of armed federal agents seizing the Cuban boy Elián González from his Miami relatives’ home, won a Pulitzer Prize in the breaking news category 16 April 2001. Matt Rainey, a staff photographer for The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., won in the feature photography category.

“To be honest I thought I wasn’t going to win. What a sweet surprise,” Diaz said in a Miami Herald story. “I just thought I was doing my job. This is just awesome, unbelievable.”

The 29 June 2000 incident, which came at the end of a six-month legal and political standoff, and Diaz’s images sparked a national controversy.

The Miami Herald, where Diaz now works as a staff photographer, also won for its coverage of Elián González saga.

In the feature category, Rainey won for his photo story on the care and recovery of two freshmen who were critically burned in a 19 January 2000 dorm fire at Seton Hall University in East Orange, N.J.

For more than eight months, Rainey and staff writer Robin Gaby Fisher tracked the progress of Shawn Simons and Alvaro Llanos through their emotional journeys.

The other finalists in the breaking news category were Chris Gerard (a pseudonym) of Agence France-Presse and Rachel Ritchie of The Providence Journal of Rhode Island.

Gerard was considered for his photograph of a Palestinian youth triumphantly raising his bloodstained hands after two Israeli soldiers were killed. Meanwhile, Ritchie captured an image of a man walking through the crowd of a street festival after shooting four people 6 August 2000.

In the feature category, David Guttenfelder of The Associated Press and Marc Piscotty of the Denver Rocky Mountain News were finalists.

Guttenfelder was honored for his photographs of North and South Koreans visiting relatives they had not seen in half a century, as well as other images generated by the Korean governments’ reunification efforts. Piscotty’s entry was a selection of photos from a four-part series, “ThunderRidge: Real Life at a Suburban High School.”

Bush picks Eric Draper to document presidency

President Bush named Eric Draper of The Associated Press to be the next official White House photographer.

“I had a good relationship with his staff. I knew I had a chance,” Draper, 36, told the Albuquerque Tribune in a 17 Januray 2001 story. “But secondly, as a photographer and as a journalist, I feel it will be very rewarding to document something that is so historically important.”

Draper, 36, studied photojournalism at California State University at Long Beach. He worked for the Seattle Times, the Pasadena (Calif.) Star News and the Albuquerque Tribune.

Draper was named the AP’s West regional enterprise photographer in 1996.

Elián González photos spark controversy

Federal agents raided the Miami home where the Cuban boy was being cared for by relatives, and Associated Press contract photographer Al Diaz was there to capture the sequence of events.

But what would have otherwise been a straightforward news story became a point of controversy.

Here, the Poynter Institute examines media coverage of the April 22 event.