2018 Breaking News, Large Newsroom winner

The Vegas Massacre

About the Project

Never has The New York Times covered a breaking news story in more innovative and comprehensive ways than the Las Vegas massacre. In the immediate aftermath the attack, The Times produced a compelling mix of stories, graphics, videos and audio pieces, employing just about every type of storytelling device at its disposal as well as inventing new ones in the process.

Beginning at 1:32:35 a.m. E.S.T. on Oct. 2, roughly 20 minutes after Stephen Paddock fired his first shot from the Mandalay Bay in the deadliest shooting in American history, The Times published its first report. Over the next 15 hours the article would be updated more than 100 times, with many scoops. Our speed helped make this our most trafficked digital story for 2017 and the third-most-visited story on Chartbeat. More than 40 reporters as far as the Philippines contributed.

That first day, we broke key details about how Paddock went about the attack, including the number of weapons. We showed how he modified semiautomatic firearms to act as fully automatic weapons. Our focus on his use of a “bump stock” helped prompt a response from lawmakers. Subsequently, we broke details about his gambling history and real estate holdings.

Ken Belson, a sports reporter in Vegas on another story, gave us an early advantage as he rushed to a local trauma center. Reporters from across the newsroom contributed, including more than a dozen who scrambled to the scene. Sixteen mobile alerts would be sent.

THE LIVE BRIEFING: The most visited story in 2017
“Multiple Weapons Found in Las Vegas Gunman’s Hotel Room”

Over the next 24 hours we continued to break news:
“A Burst of Gunfire, a Pause, Then Carnage in Las Vegas That Would Not Stop”
“Meticulous Planning by Las Vegas Gunman Before He Opened Fire”
“Las Vegas Shooting: Chaos at a Concert and a Frantic Search at Mandalay Bay”

In a separate piece, the journalists C.J. Chivers and Thomas Gibbons-Neff — both former Marines — worked with our graphics unit to analyze audio of the gunfire and estimate the number and timing of shots. They deduced that Paddock fired about 90 shots in 10 seconds. And they helped readers understand that at least one rifle in Mr. Paddock’s suite had a “bump stock,” a device used to retrofit a weapon like a fully automatic firearm.
“Nine Rounds a Second: Why the Las Vegas Shooting Was Different.”