Rubbing Elbows

Broadcast News

Derek Karikari, SOC/MA '04


Photo­graphy by
Alex Wallace

Derek Karikari sits on his desk at the AP newsroom in London

More than half of the world’s population sees content from the Associated Press every day, so when news of a royal birth, the poisoning of a former Russian spy, or possible US-North Korea talks breaks around the globe, there’s a good chance that Derek Karikari helped dispatch it straight to your smartphone.

Like an air-traffic controller clearing dozens of flights an hour, the London-based AP producer scours news sites and social media for video of unfolding stories that he edits and distributes online to hundreds of clients in North America, Europe, and Asia. Last year alone, the agency shot 70,000 video stories and streamed 10,000 hours of live video.

A typical whirlwind shift finds Karikari checking in with around 100 bureau personnel and local news contacts, booking satellite time, setting up live White House shots, and tapping experts—sometimes half a world away—for interviews. He admits that even the most seasoned news professionals might forget who they’re talking to: “There are times when you speed-dial Rome or Moscow—but instead of dialing one you dial the other, and you say, ‘Oh, I meant to call Rome, but I thought I’d swing by Moscow first.’ And you have a laugh and move on.”

Born in London and raised in Ghana, Karikari avidly listened to the BBC World Service broadcasts that bypassed the military censorship of the time. The experience kindled his desire to one day work to uphold the mission of a free press. He was also fascinated by the 1987 film Broadcast News, in which Holly Hunter plays a type A network news producer at a Washington, DC, bureau who flies into manic overdrive on deadline. But that’s not Karikari’s style. He’s been doing this job since 2008, and he sums up his approach with decidedly British understatement: “I just think, Keep calm and carry on.”