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Nashville shooting shows how readers trust AP to stay informed when news breaks

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Kristin Hall, John Raby, Jonathan Mattise, Kim Kruesi, Beatrice Dupuy, Annie Ma, Ben Finley, Adrian Sainz, Holly Meyer, Travis Loller, John Bazemore and Sharon Johnson reported on the killing of three 9-year-old pupils and three adults at a Presbyterian school in Nashville, the latest school shooting to traumatize the nation.

It’s a difficult task, but one that millions of readers entrust to AP: Telling the story of an unspeakable tragedy when news breaks. Sources also bring important developments to AP first. Reporting by Mattise and Kruesi put AP ahead of other outlets with news that Tennessee had quietly relaxed gun laws by dropping the minimum age for Tennesseans to carry handguns publicly without a permit. Later AP was first to report on the 911 tapes that showed the terror and panic. Kruesi lobbied for the tapes’ release, and she, Sainz and Loller helped quickly turn around a story.

Other standout work included photos by Bazemore that were labeled APTopix and video by Hall and Johnson, UGC video by Dupuy, a package honoring victims by the Tennessee reporters along with Finley, and a school security takeout by Meyer and Ma. Raby, who had taken the lead on remotely taking notes on each news conference, put together a definitive timeline of what happened. AP ended the week by covering Palm Sunday services, with access gained to services by Meyer.

The work garnered 1.7 million views on APNews. Dupuy’s quick work in clearing video of children being led from the scene hand-in-hand helped the story gain top placement on Facebook, driving more than 400,000 views on the platform alone. The next-day story gained nearly 800,000 views and a What We Know sidebar got good placement in Google search results. The story appeared nearly 1,000 times on member sites, according to NewsWhip.

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