When a gunman opened fire inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in the early morning hours of June 12, killing 49 people and wounding dozens more, shock waves and heartache reverberated throughout the country. For Fusion, a news organization devoted to diversity, inclusion, and amplifying marginalized voices, the massacre—which targeted LGBTQ youth and claimed the lives of many young Latinos—hit especially close to home. Fusion's news team responded to the tragedy quickly and forcefully, sending more than a dozen reporters and VJs to Orlando to document the aftermath, interview survivors, and investigate the background of shooter Omar Mateen. The resulting real-time coverage set the standard for multiplatform coverage of a mass shooting, and sensitive, thoughtful treatment of a major world news event involving marginalized identity groups.
Fusion took a 360-degree approach to covering the Orlando shooting. Video teams were dispatched to Orlando to interview survivors and blood donors, text reporters sped to the scene and shot Facebook Live videos from peace vigils and press conferences, and columnists wrote moving tributes to the victims. (One such column, a piece by a former regular at the Pulse nightclub who called it a "safe haven" for exploring his identity as a gay man, remains one of Fusion's most-read stories.) Fusion reporters filed from the home of shooter Omar Mateen, interviewed former colleagues of his who warned of his violent tendencies and a possible "surprise attack" (the first such reports at any outlet) and broke the story of one victim of the shooting, a 33-year-old Mexican undocumented immigrant. Fusion's report included stories tracking the Orlando shooting's effect on many vulnerable communities: Muslim-Americans, Puerto Ricans, undocumented immigrants, and queer people of color among them. Social media played an important role as a kind of virtual vigil—tweeting biographies and photos of each of the 49 people killed at Pulse proved to be an effective and emotional way to pay tribute to the victims.
In all, Fusion's Orlando coverage totalled more than 80 stories and videos in two languages in the span of a week, reached an audience of millions, and garnered us a reputation as an outlet capable of handling stories involving vulnerable communities with sensitivity and rigor. One reader on Twitter said, "incredible coverage of Orlando all around by @Fusion. I've been thoroughly impressed."
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