Think Like an Editor blog by Steve Davis and Emilie Davis, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University

Tucson shootings – Collaboration is Key

By · Monday, January 10th, 2011

Everyone’s attention has been focused on the shootings in Tucson, Ariz., that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in critical condition with a brain injury, six people dead and 14 injured.

Stories have described the gruesome scene, the heroic actions to stop the gunman and the selfless efforts to help the injured. Portraits have emerged of the six people killed, including 9-year-old Christina Green, who was born on Sept. 11, 2001.

Accounts have been written about the gunman, his background, his family, and where he bought the gun used in the shootings.

These stories — and more — have been posted and updated, Tweeted and shared. They have moved people to comment. They have affected people in many ways.

Coverage of the shootings has come together, oftentimes, because of collaboration by reporters in several places with several assignments. This is the kind of journalism that sets veterans into motion and starts beginners on a track that will form their futures.

More and more, news organizations are transparent about who reported a story and who wrote it. Today’s New York Times mainbar about the shootings by Marc Lacey is an example. It lists all of the reporters who contributed to the two-take story.

Reporting for the Arizona shooting coverage was contributed by David M. Herszenhorn, Emmarie Huetteman, Janie Lorber, Thom Shanker, Michael D. Shear and Ashley Southall from Washington; Jo Becker, Lisa M. Button, Ford Burkhart, Renee Schafer Horton, Devlin Houser, Ron Nixon, Nancy Sharkey, Anissa Tanweer and Roxana Vasquez from Tucson; Joe Sharkey from Sierra Vista, Ariz.; Catrin Einhorn, J. David Goodman, Anahad O’Connor, Sharon Otterman, Mosi Secret, Sarah Wheaton and Kate Zernike from New York; and Kitty Bennett from St. Petersburg, Fla.

Think about it. That’s 24 reporters for a 34-paragraph story full of details of all kinds.

Consider the coordination, the teamwork, the communication that went into that one story.

Collaboration is tested at times like these. It’s a trait that serves everyone — reporters, editors and readers alike.

Emilie Davis

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