The Associated Press has named two deputies to help lead newsgathering and storytelling in the central United States, part of a move by the AP to integrate news operations across media formats in 14 states stretching from Texas to the upper Midwest.
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Sarah Rafi, currently the deputy editor for the U.S. Central Region, will become deputy director of newsgathering for the region, and Delano Massey, currently the AP's news editor in Ohio, will be deputy director of storytelling. Both will be based in Chicago.
"Rafi and Massey's complementary experience and talents will pay dividends in strengthening both the cross-format reporting and the presentation of everything we cover in the region," said Tom Berman, the news director for the Central Region, in announcing the appointments Tuesday.
AP is in the process of merging the management of its text, photo, video and interactive journalism at regional desks around the world. The announcements in the Central region are a step in creating a single management team in which every format is represented, and will include multimedia journalists and an integrated editing desk that emphasizes video, photos and social media alongside text.
Rafi will work closely with the region's journalists to cover breaking news and create distinctive enterprise stories for AP members and customers. Massey's responsibilities will include managing the integrated editing desk and being the region's point person in devising creative and engaging ways to present content across formats.
Rafi has been an editor on the AP's Central Regional Desk since its inception in 2009. She was promoted to assistant editor in 2014 and deputy editor in 2016, taking on roles that include oversight of the evolving editing operation in Chicago and working with colleagues across the region and company to deliver standout cross-format journalism.
She has helped lead award-winning AP coverage of such stories as the tornado that devastated Joplin, Missouri, the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Hurricane Harvey's destruction along Texas' Gulf coast.
Rafi is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism. Before joining the Central Desk, she worked as a reporter and desk supervisor in Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago.
"Rafi is a respected manager and valued colleague who approaches her work with precision, empathy and fair-mindedness," Berman said. "She's a seasoned leader of journalists who asks all the right questions. And, as importantly, listens intently to all of the answers from people in the field."
Massey joined The Associated Press in 2016 as the Ohio news editor and has helped lead AP's nationwide Race and Ethnicity reporting team.
As Ohio news editor, based in Cleveland, Massey has supervised coverage of a car-and-knife attack at Ohio State University and the release and death of Otto Warmbier, who spent a year-and-a-half in North Korea.
As a leader of the Race and Ethnicity team, Massey coordinated coverage for the 60th anniversary of the Little Rock Nine, a group of students who were at the forefront of the battle to desegregate schools. Massey's work included creating an online presentation that pulled together AP's new reporting across formats and archival material.
Massey was formerly the digital director at WEWS (ABC affiliate) in Cleveland, where he oversaw the station's digital business and operations and helped lead news coverage for web and broadcast. He also has worked at WKYT (CBS affiliate) in Lexington, Kentucky, the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal and the Belleville (Illinois) News-Democrat. He is a graduate of the University of Akron.
"The skills Massey has developed while working at newspapers, television stations and the AP will ensure we are presenting our coverage from the 14-state region with maximum impact," Berman said. "His experience leading teams in a variety of formats will be an enormous asset as the AP integrates both its newsgathering and production."
The AP's Central Region includes Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.