2015 Breaking News, Medium Newsroom finalist

Baltimore Riots


Colin Daileda, Megan Specia


Breaking News, Medium Newsroom


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Having reported on police brutality throughout the year, Mashable believed it was important to cover Freddie Gray’s funeral on April 27 and sent reporter Colin Daileda to Baltimore the previous weekend. As a result, he was on the ground when the riots began after the service that Monday.

Mashable remained committed to the story, sending a second reporter, Megan Specia, to Baltimore and dedicating significant resources in both New York and on the West Coast.

Colin was one of the first reporters to document those April 27 protests that eventually escalated into a riot. Along with help from the news desk in New York, Colin filed real-time updates throughout the evening in a rolling live story, providing on-the-ground context, imagery and the latest information as Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency.

We wanted our audience to have an intimate view of Baltimore without over-simplifying the root causes of black community’s mistrust of local authorities. When Megan arrived on the night of April 27, she and Colin teamed up to provide deeper reporting. They also verified the facts for the real-time news team, who was picking up the quick breaking news.

Having covered the violence that first evening, Colin and Megan reported on the cleanup efforts the following day, speaking to community members who were picking up the pieces in west Baltimore. As National Guard members lined the streets, the pair spoke with local business owners whose shops were targeted as well as young people who had been involved in the night’s unrest.

Colin and Megan also covered the confrontations between police and protesters and the efforts of Baltimore residents to calm tensions during the emergency curfew. Using Periscope’s live-streaming app, the pair fielded questions from Mashable’s audience in real time and interviewed locals as police and National Guardsmen worked to clear the streets.

Days later during the historic Orioles “Ghost Game” against the White Sox in an empty Camden Yards, the pair set up a Periscope live stream from a nearby hotel with a view of the field and spoke with fans throughout the game.

That week, Mashable also worked to expose failings in the local justice system that left hundreds of protesters locked up for days on end with no charges.

We aimed to put human faces on the unrest and provide a perspective that didn’t involve the veneer of network television cameras. For example, Mashable broke the story of a transgender Baltimore woman who local officials detained for more than two days in a male holding cell, where she was forced to wear a revealing top and no bra.

Our team also broke down the damning details of Freddie Gray’s “rough ride” in a police van using an interactive map. On the ground, Colin and Megan made a series of videos retracing the stops the van made, unpacking the evidence the state’s attorney eventually used to bring charges against the officers involved.

The week of breaking coverage culminated with Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby announcing those charges. Colin and Megan live tweeted the press conference and were among the first to break the news of the charges. They later worked to unpack the evidence in a series of explainers detailing the extent of the charges and the evidence against the officers.

The layers of coverage from on-the-ground reporting, real-time updates on and our social media platforms provided depth to a story that drew national attention. And Mashable did it in a way that was both informative, interactive and, most importantly, accurate.