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Associated Press releases new book about the stories behind its coverage of history


NEW YORK -- A team of former and current Associated Press journalists reveals the compelling stories behind some of history’s biggest stories in the first book about the news cooperative in more than 60 years.

Breaking News: How the Associated Press has Covered War, Peace, and Everything Else, published by Princeton Architectural Press and richly illustrated with images from the AP’s archives, recounts the challenges of reporting on armed conflicts, major trials, aviation milestones, presidential elections, the struggle for civil rights, the White House and disasters such as the 9/11 terror attacks.

The book also highlights the cooperative’s intrepid foreign correspondents -- such as Wes Gallagher, shown on the cover as he dashed for a phone to report on the verdict in the 1946 Nuremberg war crimes trial -- and iconic images, including Joe Rosenthal’s photo of the flag raising atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, in 1945.

The AP previously released David Halberstam’s foreword in Breaking News to honor the journalist after his untimely death in a car crash in April. Halberstam, who covered the Vietnam War for The New York Times, recalled his first-hand experiences with AP’s Saigon bureau.

Others who compiled the book’s behind-the-scenes accounts include Richard Pyle, Fran Mears, Walter Mears, Nancy Benac, the late Howard Benedict, Darrell Christian, Tom Jory, Mike Feinsilber, Larry Heinzerling, Hal Buell, Jerry Schwartz, Terry Hunt, Cal Woodward and Sally Jacobsen. Their anecdotes are buttressed by records and documents newly uncovered by The AP Corporate Archives.

Other highlights:

· In 1849, Daniel H. Craig was hired to establish the agency’s first office outside the U.S., in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where newspapers on ships from Europe could be obtained before they reached Boston. As AP’s first foreign correspondent, Craig delivered exclusive news of an attempt to assassinate Queen Victoria in London that year, and it was relayed to AP in New York by ship, horseback and telegraph.

· AP photographer James “Ike” Altgens, who happened to be positioned 30 feet from the Presidential motorcade when the shots rang out, captured the only professional images from the scene of President Kennedy’s assassination.

· After Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis in 1968, AP reporter Kathryn Johnson was welcomed into the King household in Atlanta over several days, sometimes cooking bacon and eggs for mourners and hungry children, but also filing stories about Jacqueline Kennedy’s condolence call and other comings and goings.

· April 14, 1970, AP correspondents Paul Recer and Hoke Nobel decided to stay on the scene after filing their stories that Apollo 13 was on its way to the moon, while the rest of the press corps at the Houston Space Center attended a fancy reception. When Mission Control first heard the calm words: “Houston, we’ve had a problem,” only AP was there, and they had filed thousands of words on the near-disaster before other media knew what was going on.

· Will Grimsley, one of the most honored sports writers in history, donned a blazer and a souvenir Olympic shield and strode through the Olympic Village gate, looking every bit the Olympic official to become the only print reporter to get in to the Olympic Village compound in Munich to cover what was eventually referred to as the Munich Massacre in 1972.

· In April 2004, AP’s Denise Grones and Antoinette Konz of the Hattiesburg American were covering a routine speech about the Constitution by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at a Mississippi high school. During the speech, a deputy federal marshal demanded they erase their digital recordings of the Justice’s remarks. After AP and the American protested, Justice Scalia apologized in a letter to Grones saying, “In the future, I will make it clear that recording for use of the print media is no problem at all.”

The book helps readers track the evolution of journalism as newspapers, radio, television and the Internet compete for primacy, influence and reach. AP President and CEO Tom Curley says in his preface to the 432-page hardcover: “As Breaking News makes clear, it’s not enough to just cover what happens -- you have to get that news out. One reason for our longevity has been an ability to adapt quickly to new technology.”

An AP exhibit, also called Breaking News: How the Associated Press has Covered War, Peace and Everything Else, accompanies the book’s publication. Many of the $35 book’s nearly 200 photos are on display. The public relations firm Linden Alschuler & Kaplan, Inc., in New York, is working with the AP and the publisher on international promotion for the book, the exhibit and related content.

To find out more about Breaking News go to the book’s AP Web site at or to the publisher’s site here.


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