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Breaking news and digital: How Maclean’s handled the Ottawa shooting

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 1.57.01 PMBreaking news hits. Bullets fly, people are panicked, and your newsroom kicks into high gear. It’s the moment journalists brace themselves for, but will your digital media strategy pan out?

Kiplinger Fellow Sue Allan might have had that thought in October — albeit fleetingly — when an Ottawa gunman went on a killing rampage at the National War Memorial and then opened fire in the nearby Parliament building.

The managing editor of digital for Maclean’s was en route to the magazine’s Ottawa bureau when the shooting began.

“I opened the door to discover my colleagues running out,” she said. “For about 30 seconds, I wondered if I should press ahead with (my) appointment — Maclean’s publisher was in town. (In fact, the meeting did go ahead, just without me.)

The next few minutes were devoted to alerting the Maclean’s newsroom in Toronto and recruiting resources.”

Soon much of the city, including the bureau office, was in lockdown. Sue worked to setup a central contact list of the magazine’s key reporters and editors, as well as at sister radio and TV stations.

“Although our Ottawa building would end up on lockdown into the late evening, my colleagues kept finding a way out to report,” Sue said.

The magazine’s digital coverage centered on its live blog, using ScribbleLive to stream news content and tweets. They also used SoundCloud recordings collected on the scene. Here’s how the Maclean’s staff approached its digital coverage:

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