Posted in Announcements

Three new deputy bureau chiefs in Washington

, by Lauren Easton

Washington Bureau Chief Julie Pace today announced three key appointments: editors J. David Ake, Kathleen Hennessey and Elizabeth Kennedy are the new deputy Washington bureau chiefs, leading AP’s coverage of the U.S. government and American politics.

Here is her memo to her staff:

I’m excited to announce three new leadership positions in the Washington bureau: J. David Ake, Kathleen Hennessey and Elizabeth Kennedy are moving into deputy bureau chief roles. David and Kathleen are already valued members of the bureau, and Elizabeth will be joining us in September from Bangkok, her most recent overseas posting for AP.
J. David Ake, deputy bureau chief for visual journalism and presentation. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)
David Ake will serve as deputy bureau chief for visual journalism and presentation. He will continue to lead the photo staff and will take on a new leadership role overseeing the Washington editing desk. And he’ll work closely with video as we take steps to become a fully integrated cross-format newsroom. David has been an invaluable part of the AP since 1997, and has most recently served as assistant Washington chief of bureau for photography. He has also been a huge help to me personally as I’ve taken on this new job. He knows Washington as well as anyone, having directed photo coverage of the White House, Capitol Hill, Pentagon, State Department, and of course, several presidential campaigns. David is a creative and ambitious journalist. And if you ask anyone on his photo staff, they’ll tell you he is an exceptional person to work for. I’m excited for David to expand his impact across the bureau.
Kathleen Hennessey, deputy bureau chief for newsgathering. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)
Kathleen Hennessey will serve as deputy bureau chief for newsgathering, with a focus on the White House, Congress and politics. She’ll be active in the spot coverage on those beats and will also play a key role in developing enterprise. Kathleen first joined the AP in Nevada, covering state government in Carson City, then politics, development and entertainment in Las Vegas. She came to Washington as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, where she covered Congress and the White House. I was thrilled when we lured Kathleen back to AP in 2015 as a White House reporter. She stepped into the role of White House editor in January, overseeing AP’s coverage of one of the world’s most unpredictable and heavily scrutinized stories. Kathleen is constantly striving to make our coverage better, and always thinking about how to push a story forward. Plus, she’s one of the best writers we have. Speaking of great writers ... the indispensable Nancy Benac will serve as interim White House editor as Kathleen takes on this new role. Nancy has already been working closely with the White House team over the last several weeks and has been an amazing asset during this crazy crush of news. But don’t worry, we’ll be getting Nancy back to writing and reporting as soon as we can.
Elizabeth Kennedy, deputy bureau chief for newsgathering. (Roberto Schmidt via AP)
Elizabeth Kennedy will serve as deputy bureau chief for newsgathering, with a focus on national security, the Trump-Russia team, law enforcement and legal beats, and our general beat teams. Like Kathleen, Elizabeth will be heavily involved in spot coverage, but also focused on areas to dig deeper. While Elizabeth will be a new face in the Washington newsroom, she’s an AP veteran. She’s spent the past decade leading AP news operations in Africa, the Middle East and most recently in Asia, where she’s overseen news from 13 countries in Southeast Asia. Under her leadership, AP was a Pulitzer finalist for reporting on the Syrian war. Elizabeth brings a wealth of experience running complex stories and a fresh perspective to Washington, as well as a deep understanding of how to leverage AP’s resources around the world and across formats. She’s an energetic and engaging journalist who I know you’ll all enjoy working with.
This is a new leadership structure for the Washington bureau and it’s a change I’m really excited about. For reporters and news editors, this means additional resources to help craft sharp leads and smart nutgrafs, brainstorm story ideas and talk through sourcing strategies. For the editing desk, I hope this is an opportunity to start new conversations about ways to leverage your considerable talents. And for the photo and video staff, this ensures the great work you do is part of every coverage discussion we have in the bureau. David, Kathleen, Elizabeth and I will be having more conversations with all of you about the new structure in the coming days. Thanks,

Read the AP news story.

The Washington Monument is seen in the distance from the balcony of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)