How Social Media Helped The Boston Globe Keep the Nation Informed about Marathon Bombing Breaking News

One week later, our nation continues to recuperate from and make sense of the terror at the Boston Marathon. At SLS Consulting, we express our condolences to the families who have lost loved ones and we wish as smooth a recovery as possible for individuals coping with injuries.

No one can anticipate what their response will be to such a shocking tragedy. The relentless effort on the part of The Boston Globe to accurately report on events surrounding the finish line bombings and the subsequent manhunt is admirable and inspiring.

According to a Mashable article, The Globe had 20-30 reporters at the race and many other reporters participating in the race, but, thankfully, no staff members suffered injuries. One staff writer was near the finish line when the first explosion occurred. Instead of running away from the scene, he began documenting the events and recorded a video. In addition, a producer for shot footage of the explosion aftermath that made its way onto numerous websites. These are only two examples of the many efforts by The Globe employees to provide non-stop breaking news coverage on its websites and social media platforms.

When Dedication Produces Results

On the day of the bombing, April 15, 2013, the two websites of The Globe, and, had approximately 4.3 million unique visitors and 1.2 million unique visitors. From the day of the attack to the day of the suspect’s arrest five days later, received five times as many visitors and received 10 times as many visitors.

The number of site visitors is impressive; however, apart from their success, what stands out the most about The Globe is the courage and perseverance of staff members in a city that was under attack.

Making Room for Innovation

When the home page on both of The Globe sites wasn’t able to load for several readers, the staff redirected visitors to a live blog hosted on By creating one place where collective data could be posted, the site became a leading hub for breaking news. In addition to the blog and articles, The Globe published hundreds of updates to Twitter and Facebook. With hundreds of staff members covering the story, more ground was covered and published pieces were thoroughly researched. editor Jason Tuohey stated, “Many of the things we saw we did not put in the live blog. We wanted to make sure that we were giving people accurate information.”

A Spike in Social

Its past experience with digital publishing from the 2012 election and the snow storm from earlier in 2013 helped prepare The Globe to handle such big news, but covering the Boston Marathon bombings was no easy feat. In using Twitter to post links to articles, live-tweets for press conferences, and retweets of reporters at the scene providing coverage, The Boston Globe’s Twitter followers increased from about 70,000 to 250,000. The Globe’s Facebook presence also saw an increase from 350,000 likes to 20 million.

Capable of More than You Think

Whether you are savvy in Internet marketing or rarely go online, there is much to respect in the way The Globe handled covering the Boston crisis with tact and care. The Internet is more than just a place to find a business or access information; it truly can be a platform that brings people from all over the nation and the world together to support each other and keep one another informed, especially when tragedy strikes.

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