Attack on Ottawa – The Globe and Mail

With this tweet, Globe reporter Josh Wingrove turned on his phone’s video camera and walked steadily toward the sound of gunfire. Within minutes, his video of the final shootout on Parliament Hill became the iconic image of the attack on Ottawa, used by news organizations across Canada and around the world. The video has now been viewed by more than 4.5 million people.

As a soldier lay dying at the National War Memorial and bullets were flying in the Parliament buildings, a global audience turned to The Globe’s web, mobile and video platforms for breaking news from Canada's capital city.

What follows is a compilation of The Globe and Mail's coverage of the attack.

Murat Yukselir / The Globe and Mail

The attack on Canada's Parliament Hill on Oct. 22, 2014, left one Canadian soldier and one shooter dead. The Globe team covered this breaking news event using text, mobile, video, photography, social media and interactive graphics.

Live news coverage

At 9:59 a.m. we published a breaking news file with a single line written off Josh Wingrove's tweet. As the story evolved, we decided on a non-traditional structure that focused on a bulleted list of key facts and highly structured briefs. This gave the reader an at-a-glance update on the latest news, but also allowed them to dive deeper into the story as more facts emerged. By evening, the story evolved into a mix of classic news file and news digest.

The next morning we compiled a single story round-up that acted as a "homepage" for the reader looking to make sense of the past 24 hours. It combined a briefing of facts and news with quotes from our analysis and commentary.

We also took down our paywall for all stories on the shooting in order to make sure that our breaking news coverage was accessible to as many Canadians as possible.

Homepage coverage

11 a.m.1 p.m.5 p.m. 9 p.m.8 a.m.11 a.m.

As news broke in Ottawa, our homepage team quickly realized that none of our templated designs gave us the flexibility we needed to cover an event of this size.

Working with a front-end developer and a designer, by 11 a.m. we were able to craft a custom top to our homepage that would both convey the magnitute of the story as well as allow us to gather in one place all the coverage that would consume the newsroom for the next 24 hours.


BlackBerry in hand, Ottawa reporter Josh Wingrove pressed record and captured what would become the iconic image of the attack. He also filed a first-person video report from inside Parliament Hill under lockdown.

As the day came to a close, our video team compiled a 70-second digest of the key moments from the shooting:

Finally, here are some other videos we produced in the first 48 hours:

Social media

Many readers turned to social media for the latest updates from Ottawa – our goal was to make sure we delivered news to Canadians wherever they were.

There were a dozen people in the Globe’s Ottawa bureau at the time of the shooting. Within minutes, half of them ran from the building in one of two directions – toward the war memorial, where Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was killed, or toward Parliament, where Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was killed.

As our reporters delivered hundreds of instant dispatches via Twitter, our social media team compiled a Twitter list of Globe reporters covering the attack, which was embeddded in our main articles on the shooting and gave up-to-the-second updates from the ground.

The social team used this list and other Twitter searches to feed live updates through the newsroom, and to our website and mobile platforms. They were restrained and precise in providing news to our readers — delivering much needed facts amid an atmosphere of fear and rumour. For example, even as a government official tweeted that the soldier had died, we waited for independent confirmation from two sources before sending our own breaking news update.

The day after, as an outpouring of national pride followed a tense 24 hours, we compiled a round-up of Canadians rallying together on social media, and showing pride for their country and capital city.

What we know so far about the shootings in Ottawa: - Police in pursuit of multiple shooters - downtown buildings in lockdown - Prime Minister is safe Live coverage:

Posted by The Globe and Mail on Wednesday, October 22, 2014


The day of the shooting drew the largest audience ever to The Globe's iPhone app. We built and maintained this audience throughout the day using a specific, targeted alert strategy that focused on delivering the most critical imcremental news without overwhelming the reader with constant updates.


Regular templateEvening editionMorning edition

For the evening commuter, we assembled all of our coverage into a special edition newsletter. This involved some small tweaks to our standard newsletter template, which we then reused the next morning.


For the morning after the attack, we developed a new gallery template that combined a locator map with the top images from the first 24 hours.

Interactive graphics

Once the details of the gunman's path became known, we put together a quick interactive graphic explaining his path. This graphic was then embedded as an additional asset in our rolling news coverage.


As Canadians struggled to make sense of such a vicious attack at the heart of our government, we also offered a series of analytical pieces from our staff: