As Capitol shooting unfolds, new media take the lead

Visitors, officials and journalists alike were on lockdown after a gunman entered the Visitor’s Center. Smartphone video and social media channels enabled reporters to get the news out.

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Reporters using smartphones during a crisis isn’t a new concept.

Monday, when the United States Capitol campus was on lockdown, however, journalists—and their devices—were the primary source for updating millions of people eager for information.

As news broke yesterday afternoon that an armed gunman had put the heart of Washington, D.C., in “shelter in place” mode, an abundance of questions followed online.

Here’s what the Associated Press was able to report:

The event unfolded with Congress on recess and lawmakers back in their districts. The White House was briefly put on lockdown, but that was soon lifted.

The shooting occurred in the Visitors Center of the sprawling Capitol Complex. Staffers, reporters and others were told to “shelter in place” and not allowed to leave their offices.

As many media outlets—other than journalists who were on lockdown—weren’t able to get close enough to the building to take video, social media emerged as a primary channel for conveying information.

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