Honoring outstanding journalism

AP Leads is a weekly contest platform that showcases outstanding domestic and international journalism from reporters at The Associated Press. Beginning in 2015, the challenge was to design and develop an optimized nomination workflow and a new home for the experience. One that would provide an immersive behind-the-scenes look at AP's journalistic process while also functioning as a sales support tool with multi-faceted search and topic exploration.


  • Content strategy
  • Creative direction
  • UX design
  • Visual design
  • CMS design
  • Authoring experience design

Defining the content model

We made the decision early on to use Craft as our CMS based on success from previous projects and qualitative feedback regarding its ease of use in authoring content. Craft also made it simpler to develop a modular/matrix approach to page construction which made layout simpler while preserving the design aesthetic. We modeled out each content type and tested with editors to find the right balance between data input and search filtering support.


Sitemap and content type schematic

Filtering and topic exploration

Each form submission, or nomination, became a content object and the metadata was preserved throughout the authoring workflow. By taking such a granular approach, we were able to better support search filtering or specific story types, formats, locations and date range.


Topic view and search filtering


Early wireframes showing article and filtered search concepts

A new nomination workflow

In the previous workflow, AP editors would have to filter through dozens of emails to compile and read through each week's nominations. We migrated that workflow to the CMS and then sequenced and formatted the submissions to provide an improved reading experience.


Latest design iteration

Ap leads pull quote

Responsive design views for mobile


In just a few years, AP Leads has grown from a handful of concept slides to a treasured archive focused exactly where it should be — on the journalists that report AP news. Each week the archive expands becoming even more valuable to AP journalists, sales teams, students, media reporters and more. The site will launch to the public in the coming months.