How the Christchurch Attack Unfolded for Reporters

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A week has passed since the terrorist attack on two Christchurch mosques in which left 50 people dead in addition to wounded dozens more. in which has been a week of grief, horror in addition to loss, particularly for the Muslim community, many of whom had made a home in what they believed was a country safe coming from in which kind of atrocity.

however as people around completely new Zealand held vigils in addition to grappled with questions about what had led to the worst massacre from the country in modern history, in which has also been a week of action. On Thursday, Jacinda Ardern, the country’s prime minister, pledged to ban military-style semiautomatic weapons.

As the crisis unfolded, a team of completely new York Times reporters, including Damien Cave (who normally writes in which newsletter), traveled to Christchurch.

in which week, I asked him some questions about the experience of reporting on such an attack.

News of the shooting broke last Friday. Can you walk us through how in which unfolded for reporters? When did in which become clear in which a terrorist attack had happened?

Shootings are always hard to cover from the first few hours, when information will be often spotty or just wrong. In in which case, we were on alert as soon as we heard there was an active shooter, in addition to then over a couple of hours on Friday, in which commenced to look more serious.

We’re lucky; we have a fantastic reporter in completely new Zealand — Charlotte Graham-McLay, who knows the country well in addition to who will be well sourced in government. She kept us up-to-date all along the way, in addition to once we heard at least one mosque had been targeted, we commenced to think in which was going to be a big deal. Then the numbers of dead commenced to climb in addition to in which’s when we scrambled to get more people on the ground.

Plane tickets were selling out fast in addition to then Christchurch’s airport shut down domestic flights, keeping Charlotte coming from getting there. Jamie Tarabay managed to get one of the last flights out on Friday; I got a flight for Saturday morning, in addition to by Sunday, we had several reporters in addition to two photographers in Christchurch.

Politicians in completely new Zealand have been discussing gun policy in addition to national security ever since the attacks. Where will be the conversation at right currently from the country, a week later?

On Thursday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a national ban on all military-style semiautomatic weapons, all high-capacity ammunition magazines in addition to all parts in which allow weapons to be modified into the kinds of guns used from the mosque killings.

As an American, the main thing I can say about the conversation in completely new Zealand will be in which, so far, in which’s been, well, much calmer than the gun debate from the United States. Yes, there are gun lovers here in addition to gun critics, however there tends to be a willingness to adjust the policy in ways in which will make completely new Zealand safer, without as much rancor as there will be in America.

You attended the funerals for many of the victims in addition to were from the hospital with their families as they waited for updates. Are there particular moments in which have stayed with you?

Many. however the few hours I spent from the “relatives room” at the hospital was especially powerful. I was pretty much the only reporter there, having walked in with an imam in addition to a family in which welcomed me.

Inside a cafeteria with gray carpets in addition to closed windows, there were dozens of relatives of the dead, coming from all over the planet, desperately trying to just get information coming from the police in addition to Islamic leaders.

in which reminded me, sadly, of my time covering the war in Iraq, when the parents of the missing would certainly often come to the Green Zone seeking information coming from American officials about sons in addition to daughters who had gone missing from the mess of war.

however then, in in which drab little room, something amazing happened. When the yelling was at its peak, with different people demanding in which officials produce a list of the dead, a man behind me yelled “Allahu akbar” in addition to called for patience — in addition to the crowd calmed down.

The Islamic leaders in addition to the police held a meeting in addition to came back in addition to announced to the crowd in which they would certainly adjust the process.

in which was a powerful example of community in addition to nimble democracy — strongest I’ve seen in years.

What were some of the reporting challenges you encountered while on the ground in Christchurch?

One of the big challenges in an environment like in which — a tragedy of global significance — will be how to deal with some other media in addition to the demands on the people who are affected by the tragedy.

There are probably hundreds of reporters here all looking to get the story out to their part of the planet, in addition to while many of them are thoughtful, there are always a few — I won’t name names, however some Australians don’t have a great reputation in completely new Zealand — who err on the side of overdoing in which, both with victims in addition to their families, in addition to with others (like gun shop owners) who are more tangential to the story.

in which’s partly the demands of the news cycle in addition to particular brands (television reporters often skip straight to “how did you feel when …”) in addition to I’m sensitive to the fact in which our industry will be in flux in addition to people are just trying to do their jobs.

however when a handful of journalists lack heart in addition to humanity, in which ends up hurting all of us who do what we do. in which leads families to see us as the enemy in addition to leads officials to cut off access, in addition to then in which means in which people who actually want their stories told can end up silenced.

I don’t think in which has happened too much here in Christchurch, however over time, in which’s clear in which some families have become more frustrated with some journalists’ behavior in addition to are struggling with whom among us to trust. in which means in which takes more time in addition to effort to build rapport in addition to tell stories in which have nuance in addition to complexity.

Since Friday, we have closely covered events in Christchurch in addition to some other places of interest. If you’re unsure where to start, here’s a selection:

Funerals Begin for Attack Victims: As the first of those killed were finally buried on Wednesday in accordance to Muslim tradition, hundreds paid their respects. “currently we can breathe freely,” one mourner said. “They’re going to the place they’re supposed to be.”

You can find an updating list of the victims here. They spanned generations in addition to nationalities.

Quick Action, a Near Miss in addition to Courage: Abdul Aziz was praying in Linwood Mosque when he heard the gunshots. Rather than run coming from the noise, he ran toward in which, grabbed the first thing he could find — a credit card machine — in addition to flung in which at the attacker.

In Australian Town Where Suspect Grew Up, Residents Are Stupefied: On Saturday, I went to Grafton, where locals, including former classmates of the man accused of carrying out the attacks, expressed horror. “The town has gone into silence,” a restaurant owner said.

A Mass Murder of, in addition to for, the Internet: “People used to conceive of ‘online extremism’ as distinct coming from the extremism in which took form from the physical world. currently, online extremism will be just regular extremism on steroids,” Kevin Roose, our tech columnist, writes.

We are aware the news can take an emotional toll. If you want a reprieve, here’s some lighter fare:

Artist Says Big Bong Will Help Save a Town. The Locals Aren’t Amused: Australia loves its “Big Things.” however one man’s idea for the town of Woodenbong isn’t exactly well-liked with residents.