Remember last week we

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Remember last week we reported extensively on AP reporter John Solomon’s reporting on Sen. Harry Reid. Well, apparently, that’s exactly the sort of excellence the editors at the AP are shooting for.

Here’s the text of an internal email sent out to AP staff announcing the award Solomon got for the pieces in question …

Dear Staffers:

It was the most talked-about, blogged-about political story of the week _ twice.

First, John Solomon in Washington broke the news that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid had accepted free ringside seats to three pro boxing matches from the Nevada agency that was trying to influence his legislation to bring federal oversight to the sport.

Then Solomon followed up by describing how Reid returned home to Nevada and misstated the ethics rules in an effort to defend himself. Ultimately, the Senate leader reversed course, admitted he misstated the rules and promised never again to accept free tickets from special interests.

The exclusive resulted from several tips that came in after Solomon and Sharon Theimer wrote a series of stories about gifts lawmakers got from fallen lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Before his report moved, Solomon had a one-hour interview with Reid in his Capitol office where Reid uttered his widely quoted declaration that, “I’m not Goodie Two-Shoes.”

AP secured the rights to HBO video footage showing Reid in his free ringside seats at one of the fights, and that footage became the centerpiece of an OVN package and also was used by the TV networks and in frame grabs in newspapers. Solomon also did an audio Q&A for radio and Web customers. The story and video won widespread play on the Web fronts and newspaper fronts, and stirred an enormous debate in the blogosphere, generating more than 10,000 postings and more than a dozen newspapers wrote editorials chastising Reid, including USA Today.

For his work giving AP ownership of this high-profile story, Solomon wins this week’s prize of $500.

AP Director of Media Relations confirmed to TPMmuckraker’s Paul Kiel that the email “was sent to all AP staff as part of AP’s weekly recognition of staff reporters.”

Speaks for itself.

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