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While it’s unusual to have two competitive primary campaigns this late in the election season, the results will ultimately come down to one thing, Associated Press White House Correspondent Julie Pace told NAA mediaXchange attendees.
“Winning a primary is about one thing — delegates,” Pace said. “The only thing that matters is math.”
AP’s extensive efforts to maintain an accurate independent delegate count, including the intentions of the super delegates on the Democratic side, are of particular importance this year, Pace said, as both Sen. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump face numerical challenges in capturing their respective parties’ nominations despite their momentum. Regardless, this campaign season is different from previous ones, Pace said.
“I haven’t seen the public engaged in this way before,” she said. While social media has played an outsized role, Pace pointed out that journalists tend to over follow Twitter, while voters appear to be more likely to get their news from Facebook.
AP’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation “Seafood from Slaves” marks the first time the newsgathering collective has won the coveted Public Service award. While the project had global scope and results—freeing 2,000 slave laborers in Indonesia and spurring changes in U.S. law—reporters tracked seafood via satellite imagery to specific grocery chains and food suppliers to make it relevant to local newspaper readers, AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said.
Along with upgrading its election platform to cover 5,000 races this fall, AP continues efforts to improve photo and video services, expand local coverage through increased use of member stories, and experiment with the safe use of drones in newsgathering and virtual reality storytelling. AP is also offering discounts for long-term contracts and moving its headquarters to less expensive space to create a state-of-the-art newsroom.
A partnership with Automated Insights that has led to expanded, data-driven automated coverage of earning reports will be extended to minor league baseball coverage—supplementing, not supplanting, human-powered journalism.
“What does the newsroom think of this so-called robo-journalism? They love it,” Pruitt said, noting that it frees up resources to cover more in-depth stories as the media landscape continues to shift.
“Search, social media, and mobile are transforming how the public gets its news,” said AP Board Chair Mary Junck, executive chair of Lee Enterprises. “But the demand for accurate, objective news from reliable sources is stronger than it’s ever been.”
Members of the News Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.