DC Influencer: Sally Buzbee, Washington bureau chief, AP

Sally Buzbee, Washington bureau chief for AP, talks to PRWeek about its multi-platform news offerings and covering the 2012 White House race.

What are some of your organization's specialty and niche-focused operations?
We have some pretty robust financial, lifestyle/fashion, and political niche products. Our Campaign Plus product in 2008 and 2010 - a multi-format, interactive, and video product - was widely used by digital customers. A revamped version will likely get wide usage this cycle, as well.

The biggest element of AP people aren't as aware of is our extensive video operations. We're one of the world's largest sources of broadcast and online video, both from the US and overseas. In Washington, we have a robust, integrated text and video operation. Recently, Sky News ran live with our on-camera interview with President Obama.

How are you gearing up to cover the 2012 presidential race?
We're pretty excited about the 2012 election cycle. We have a good team in Washington, plus a strong group of reporters in the field who will help us dominate coverage. It's invaluable to have reporters on the ground in Iowa, New Hampshire, and places such as Mississippi who really understand local voters and regional politics.

We're gearing up for increased video coverage this cycle and we're in the process of hiring a strong campaign finance reporter, since the money game will be so critical the next two years. We're talking with customers about what type of data they want from us and in what type of interactive form. We want to make this political season as clear for readers and viewers as we can.

How do you balance coverage of federal budget shortfalls with what's going on for cash-strapped states and municipalities?
This is really the part of the job I love. AP has a unique ability to tell the story of what's going on across the whole country, not just in Washington, because of our strong statehouse bureaus.

We started the "Broken Budgets" initiative this year in which we tell the story of state and financial budget woes in text, photos, and video. This helped us domi-nate on a story like the Wisconsin budget struggle by pooling the smart reporters we have in all locations. It also helps our members and customers broaden out their local coverage to see how it's linked to problems in other parts of the country.

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