20 Associated Press Interview Questions and Answers

Prepare for the types of questions you are likely to be asked when interviewing for a position at Associated Press.

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted news organizations in the world. With over 1,000 employees in more than 200 countries, the AP is dedicated to delivering accurate, unbiased news stories from around the globe.

If you’re hoping to land a job at the Associated Press, you can expect to be asked a variety of questions about your qualifications, experience, and knowledge of the news industry. To help you prepare, we’ve gathered a list of sample Associated Press interview questions and answers.

Associated Press Interview Process

The Associated Press has a fairly lengthy and detailed interview process for perspective employees. The process usually starts with an initial application, followed by a phone interview. If the applicant passes the phone interview, they are then invited to come in for an in-person interview. This interview is usually conducted by a panel of AP staff members. Finally, the applicant may be asked to take a writing test.

1. What is the most important thing you learned in your journalism classes?

The interviewer is likely to ask this question to see if you have a strong background in journalism. They want to know that you are prepared for the job and understand what it takes to be successful. When answering, make sure to highlight your writing skills and any other relevant knowledge you gained from your classes.

Example: “The most important thing I learned in my journalism classes was how to write concisely. In college, I took several courses on writing news stories and feature articles. My professors taught me how to get all of the information into a small space while still making it interesting for readers. This skill has helped me immensely throughout my career.”

2. How would you handle a disagreement with an editor about a story?

The Associated Press is a news organization that values accuracy and integrity. As such, they want to ensure you can work well with others and are willing to compromise when necessary. Your answer should show the interviewer that you’re able to collaborate with your editor and understand their perspective.

Example: “I would first listen to my editor’s concerns about the story. Then I would offer an alternative solution or compromise. For example, if my editor wanted me to change the headline of a story, I might suggest adding more information to the original headline so it better reflects the content of the article.”

3. Describe a time when you had to work under tight deadlines.

Associated Press reporters often have to work under tight deadlines. Employers ask this question to make sure you can handle the pressure of working for a news organization like AP. In your answer, explain how you handled the situation and what skills helped you succeed.

Example: “When I was in college, I worked as an editor for my school’s newspaper. One semester, our sports reporter went on vacation right before the start of basketball season. I had to cover all of the games that week while also writing articles about other sporting events happening around campus. It was challenging because I didn’t know much about some of the teams, but I managed to write several stories by relying on interviews with coaches and players.”

4. Tell us about a time where you had to write for a different audience than usual and how did you adapt?

The Associated Press is a global news organization, so it’s important that you can adapt to different audiences. This question helps the interviewer understand how you would adapt to writing for AP and its audience.

Example: “I have experience writing for multiple publications, including local newspapers and national magazines. I’ve also written for several online publications, which required me to write in short paragraphs with active verbs and nouns. Adapting to these different styles was easy because I enjoy learning new things and am always eager to improve my skills.”

5. Do you have any experience working on social media platforms?

The Associated Press is looking for journalists who can use social media to share their stories with the public. This question helps them determine if you have experience working on these platforms and how well you know them. If you do, mention which platforms you’ve worked on and what your responsibilities were. If you don’t have any experience, explain that you’re familiar with these platforms and would be willing to learn more about them.

Example: “I have some experience working on social media platforms. I started my career as a journalist at a local newspaper where I wrote several articles each week. I also shared those articles on our website and through our social media accounts. I’m comfortable using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share content.”

6. Why do you want to work at Associated Press?

This question is a great way for the interviewer to learn more about your interest in working at Associated Press. They want to know that you are passionate about journalism and have a strong desire to work with this company. When answering, make sure to highlight why you’re interested in this specific job. Consider mentioning what attracted you to the position and how it fits into your career goals.

Example: “I’m very passionate about journalism and I’ve always admired Associated Press’s commitment to providing quality news coverage. I would love to be part of such an important organization and help deliver accurate information to people all over the world. I think my skills as a writer and editor would be a great fit for this role.”

7. What are some of your favorite news sources that you follow regularly?

The Associated Press is a news organization that provides content to many other media outlets. The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your writing style and how you would fit into the AP’s team of writers. In your answer, try to explain why you like these sources and what makes them unique or interesting.

Example: “I follow several local newspapers in my area as well as some national publications. I find that reading multiple sources helps me get a better idea of what’s going on in the world. For example, one newspaper might cover a story differently than another, which can help me understand different perspectives. I also really enjoy following some blogs written by citizen journalists. These bloggers often provide unique insights into current events.”

8. Give me an example of a time when you had to use logic to solve a problem.

The Associated Press is looking for a candidate who can use critical thinking skills to solve problems. This question allows you to show your ability to analyze information and make decisions based on the facts at hand.

Example: “When I was working as an editor, we had a reporter who was covering a story about a local politician. The reporter filed her article with all of the details she could find, but there were still some holes in the story. She asked me if it would be okay to file the article without those details, and I told her no. We needed to get that information before we could publish the article. So, I called the politician’s office and explained our situation. They agreed to give us more information so we could publish the article.”

9. Can you talk about a time when you were asked to do something you weren’t comfortable with, how did you handle it?

The Associated Press is a news organization that requires its journalists to report on stories from all over the world. This means they may be asked to cover topics or events that are uncomfortable for them, but still important to report on. An interviewer may ask this question to make sure you can handle these types of assignments and remain professional while doing so. In your answer, try to explain how you would approach an assignment like this and what steps you would take to ensure you remained ethical in your reporting.

Example: “I understand that as a journalist I will be covering some difficult stories. However, I always do my best to remain objective when reporting on these types of assignments. If I was ever uncomfortable with a story assignment, I would first speak with my editor about it. I would also reach out to other colleagues who have covered similar stories to get their advice. Ultimately, I would do everything I could to ensure I am providing accurate information.”

10. Do you have any experience writing stories using AP style?

The Associated Press is a news organization that provides content to thousands of media outlets. The AP stylebook is the guide for journalists who write stories for these outlets, and it’s important to know how to use it when you’re interviewing with an AP reporter. In your answer, explain what you know about this stylebook and why it’s important to follow its guidelines.

Example: “I have worked as a journalist for several years now, and I’ve always been aware of the importance of using AP style in my writing. When I was working at my last job, I had to write many stories for local newspapers that used AP style. I also wrote some articles for national publications that followed the same rules. I think it’s important to be familiar with the AP stylebook because it helps ensure consistency across all of the outlets that publish our work.”

11. Are you comfortable being interviewed?

The Associated Press is a highly competitive organization, and the interviewer may want to know that you’re confident in your abilities. This question can also help them determine if you’ve ever been interviewed before. If you have, they might ask about it, but if not, they’ll likely move on to another question.

Example: “I’m very comfortable being interviewed because I’ve done it many times throughout my career. In fact, I enjoy talking with reporters and sharing information with the public. I think it’s important for people to understand what we do as journalists and how we go about doing it.”

12. Have you ever written a breaking news story?

The Associated Press is a news organization that specializes in reporting breaking news. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the experience necessary for the job. In your answer, share an example of a time when you wrote a story about something happening right away. Explain what steps you took to gather information and write the article as quickly as possible.

Example: “In my last role as a journalist, I was covering a local high school football game when one of the players got injured on the field. The coach immediately called for help, and paramedics rushed onto the field to treat the player. I knew I had to get quotes from coaches and teammates before they left the stadium. I also asked some of the other players if they could describe what happened. Then, I gathered all of my notes and returned to the office to write up the story.”

13. What do you think makes a good headline?

The AP is looking for writers who can create compelling headlines that draw in readers. Your answer should show the interviewer you have a strong grasp of what makes a headline effective and how to write one.

Example: “A good headline needs to be concise, but also descriptive enough to make me want to read the story. I think it’s important to use active verbs and nouns so the reader knows exactly what they’re getting into when they click on the link. For example, ‘Man Eats Dog’ is more interesting than ‘Dog-Eating Man Gets Arrested.’ It tells us exactly what happened without giving too much away.”

14. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

This question is a common one for employers to ask. It helps them understand your career goals and how you plan to achieve them. When answering this question, it can be helpful to think about what you want to accomplish in the next few years. You can also talk about any skills or experiences that will help you reach those goals.

Example: “In five years, I hope to have advanced my career at the Associated Press. I would love to become an editor by then. To do so, I am going back to school to get my master’s degree in journalism. This program has helped me develop many of the skills I need to succeed as a journalist and editor. I believe these skills will help me reach my goal of becoming an editor within five years.”

15. Can you tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult person or situation?

The Associated Press is looking for a candidate who can handle difficult situations with tact and professionalism. This question allows you to show your problem-solving skills, communication skills and ability to remain calm under pressure.

Example: “I once had a client who was very upset about the quality of my work. I listened carefully to what they were saying and tried to understand their concerns. After that, I explained how I would improve the situation. The client appreciated my willingness to listen and change things for them. In the end, we both felt satisfied with the outcome.”

16. When was the last time you visited our website?

The Associated Press is a news organization that provides content to thousands of media outlets. The company wants to know if you are familiar with their work and the types of stories they cover. Your answer should show your interest in AP’s work, as well as how often you read its articles.

Example: “I visit the Associated Press website every day. I find it to be one of the most reliable sources for national and international news. I also subscribe to several newspapers that use AP content. In fact, I have been reading AP articles since high school when I subscribed to my local newspaper.”

17. What kind of equipment will you need to bring to this job from home?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your technical skills and how you use them. They want to know if you have the necessary equipment for the job, but they also want to see that you can be resourceful when it comes to finding or creating tools that help you do your work. In your answer, explain what kind of computer, software and other resources you would need to complete your tasks on time and with accuracy.

Example: “I own a laptop that I purchased last year. It has enough memory to store all my files and documents, and it’s powerful enough to run any programs I might need to create content. I also have a printer at home that I could bring in case we don’t have one here.”

18. What is your biggest weakness?

This question is a common one in interviews, and it’s often asked by employers to see how you respond to criticism. When answering this question, be honest about your weakness but also highlight what steps you’re taking to improve yourself.

Example: “My biggest weakness is that I’m too hard on myself when I make mistakes. In my last job as an AP reporter, I was covering a story where I had to interview several people at once. One of the quotes I used from one person wasn’t entirely accurate, so I had to rewrite the entire article. While I know I can’t control everything that happens, I still feel bad for making such a big mistake.”

19. If you could cover any event/story what would it be?

This question is a great way to see if you have any specific interests or passions. It also allows the interviewer to get an idea of what kind of stories you would be most excited to cover. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a story that has been in the news recently and why you are interested in covering it.

Example: “If I could cover any event/story, I would love to cover the next royal wedding. Ever since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement, I’ve been following all the details about their upcoming nuptials. I think it’s so interesting how they met and fell in love, and I’d love to cover the entire event.”

20. What type of coverage are you interested in (sports, politics, crime, etc.)?

The Associated Press is a large organization that covers many different types of news. Your answer to this question should show the interviewer you have an interest in their specific department and can provide examples of how your skills would be beneficial to them.

Example: “I am passionate about politics, so I would love to work for the AP’s Washington bureau. In my last internship at the local newspaper, I covered several political events including town hall meetings and rallies. I also interviewed several politicians and wrote articles on their platforms and campaign promises.”


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