case study


Project Management
Leading a team of visual journalists covering the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Photo by Steph Chambers/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Assistant Managing Editor/Visuals
Visual Editing
Planning & Scheduling

Project Overview

The first day

When a gunman killed 11 congregants at a Pittsburgh synagogue, I sprung into action as the assistant managing editor of visuals at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I directed a team of nearly 20 photographers, videographers and editors to quickly provide visual coverage of the aftermath of the deadliest antisemitic attack in the United States, which was part of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting. 

Throughout the first day, I coordinated with news editors to get photos and videos that coincided with reporting as the criminal investigation widened and mourners gathered near the synagogue, in order to update our digital platforms continually. I instituted simple workflows that enabled our visuals editing team to efficiently and effectively communicate to the newsroom the best images to publish in a rapidly evolving environment. I worked with reporters to add vital context and consistent information to photo captions. 

As we helped our community understand what was happening on the day of the shooting, it was important to balance moments of shock and grief, the intense police response and the outpouring of community support. (Photos by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette staff, clockwise from left: Alexandra Wimley, Michael Santiago, Alexandra Wimley, Alexandra Wimley and Stephanie Strasburg)

As the story developed

In the days of coverage that followed, I managed the publication of hundreds of photos, and videos, across digital, social media and print channels — seen locally and globally. In daily planning meetings and quick huddles, our cross-functional team of editors and production staff prioritized daily assignments and discussed photo and story pairings for the next day’s paper. We began planning for a special section online, focusing on the attack, and in print to highlight the week-long events including vigils and funerals, for which I was awarded first place for newspaper news story in the 2019 Best of Photojournalism picture editing competition. 

How I planned and scheduled coverage

I based daily assignments on team members’ strengths and gave them specific goals while providing them the autonomy and support to make decisions in the field. This was integral to creating compelling visuals that were part of the “immersive, compassionate coverage,” recognized by the Pulitzer Prize administration. Initially, the entire staff was focused on covering this story. I coordinated with reporters and editors to prioritize and reschedule non-related assignments, including hiring freelancers for essential work. As this intense coverage progressed, I also adjusted scheduling so team members could take breaks and return to other assignments. 

In selecting images for the print publication, I chose moments that enhanced the understanding of the stories being told in words. (Photos by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette staff, clockwise from top left: Alexandra Wimley, Steph Chambers, Andrew Rush, Andrew Rush, Jessie Wardarski, Michael Santiago and Stephanie Strasburg)

The story we told

As a part of a collaborative team committed to telling this story thoroughly — and compassionately, I worked with the visuals team and newsroom editors throughout the week to adjust our coverage and problem-solve issues. Photographers were empowered in the field to determine how best to cover sensitive moments, and in the newsroom, I worked with other editors to make the final determination on what images to publish.


Newsroom staff — 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting 

Individual — 1st place, Newspaper News Story, 2019 Best of Photojournalism picture editing competition

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