Posted in Announcements

New beat team for marijuana coverage

, by Lauren Easton

In a memo to staff, AP Deputy Managing Editor for U.S. News Noreen Gillespie outlined plans for a reporting team that will cover issues related to the legalization of marijuana:

Colleagues:  I’m pleased to announce the latest addition to our group of beat teams: a team focused on marijuana legalization and regulation.  Led by California News Editor Frank Baker, the cross-format team’s goal is to use the AP’s global footprint to cover this emerging economy, forecast the legal and regulatory showdowns that could emerge, and smartly document how California and other states are changing marijuana culture in America. The team’s goal will also be to peer beyond the U.S. and report on supply and economic implications from Mexico and Canada.  Our members and customers have told us this is an area of immense interest to them, and AP’s geographic scope places us in a unique position to tell this story from multiple vantage points.  
James MacWilliams prunes a marijuana plant that he is growing indoors in Portland, Maine, Dec. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
AP has reporters stretching from Seattle to Denver to Maine who have decades of knowledge about the regulatory landscape, state legislation and culture. Together, this team will explore how governments position themselves to reap the benefits of a thriving market, explore emerging issues in advertising and product development, and how a proliferation of pot may influence research trends, among other inquiries. Baker will work closely with Portland-based reporter Gillian Flaccus and Rockies News Editor Joe Danborn to oversee the team’s work. The team will also have liaisons from the business department, health and science and sports, and work closely with other existing beat teams to develop stories. The members:

Reporter Michael Blood, Los Angeles
Reporter Mike Balsamo, Los Angeles
Reporter Paul Elias, San Francisco
Reporter Gene Johnson, Seattle
Reporter Katie Foody, Denver
Photographer Eric Risberg, San Francisco
Video journalist Peter Banda, Denver
Reporter Sadie Gurman, Washington
Video journalist Manuel Valdes, Seattle
Reporter Krysta Fauria, Los Angeles 
The team will work closely with News Editor for National Beats Josh Hoffner, who oversees our beat teams, and News Director for the U.S. West Anna Johnson. Please join me in congratulating the members of the team, and we look forward to seeing the work they’ll produce in the months to come on this important issue! Noreen