Sara Gillesby, a New York-based video manager who led coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, the Sandy Hook school shooting and 2016 political conventions, has been named news director for all formats in the U.S. East region.
Karin Laub, who has covered wars, revolutions, the plight of refugees and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for three decades as a foreign correspondent, has been promoted to the Middle East news director.
The appointments were announced Tuesday by Noreen Gillespie, deputy managing editor for U.S. News, and Ian Phillips, deputy managing editor and vice president for international news.
The AP is merging the management of its text, photo, video and interactive journalism at regional desks around the world. Each region will be overseen by a 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.
Gillesby will lead a group of journalists in 10 states stretching from Ohio to Maine. She will be based at AP’s headquarters.
“Every time we deploy teams for a major story in the United States, Sara’s name always comes up first,” Gillespie said. “She is a natural collaborator and leader who has deep relationships with journalists in every format, and she makes the teams she leads better.”
Gillesby joined AP in 2005 as an editorial assistant, working her way up to video journalist, senior producer and later, assignment desk manager.
In that role, she routinely led video coverage of some of the biggest stories in the world. She oversaw AP’s video teams during Superstorm Sandy and the Boston Marathon bombings. She also coordinated on-site during the mass shooting at an elementary school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. She helped lead coverage at both 2016 political conventions and worked with video journalists covering Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on election night. She was also part of an award-winning team that covered the Las Vegas shootings last year.
Laub has reported extensively on violence in hotspots such as Libya, Tunisia, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. She covered Israel, the West Bank and Gaza in previous roles as Jerusalem news editor and chief correspondent for the Palestinian territories. That included two Palestinian uprisings, the 1995 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005. After the start of the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, she traveled extensively in the region, reporting from behind rebel lines in Libya and Syria.
In 2014, Laub was central to AP’s coverage of the Gaza war, living for almost two months in a city under bombardment, helping direct coverage, and writing a wide range of hard-hitting stories.
“An enduring memory for me was Karin reporting on the final Gaza cease-fire well into the night in the middle of a power cut, her face lit up in the pitch black by the light of a laptop screen,” said Phillips. “Her dedication and professionalism are well known by all who have worked with her.”
In her most recent post as bureau chief in Jordan, Laub produced insightful stories about the plight of Syrian refugees. Her work included stories about the rise in child marriages and child labor, the deportation of hundreds of refugees from Jordan to Syria, and the suffering of tens of thousands stranded for months and years in the desert on the sealed border between the two countries. She also explored the threat posed to the country and its people, some vulnerable to recruitment, by the Islamic State group.