This photo was taken from inside the press room at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel. The eerie part of this photo is the race clock was still running throughout everything, a constant reminder of how long the disaster was unfolding. Photo by Hannah McGoldrick
Hannah McGoldrick graduated from the UMass Journalism program last May and quickly landed her dream job as an associate multimedia editor for Runner’s World. When the bombs went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, she was inside the press room at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel.
“We were on lockdown from the moment the blasts went off until about 7 p.m. and were prohibited from leaving the building. The eerie part of this photo (right) is the race clock was still running throughout everything, a constant reminder of how long the disaster was unfolding.”
Hannah was kind enough to take time out of her reporting today to do a Q&A with me:
1. Where were you when the bombings occurred?
I was in the press room at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel when the bombings occurred. I had just finished my race recap of the U.S. Elite Women runners, including Massachusetts native, Shalane Flanagan, and filed it to my editor. I was there with two other editors and our web producer, as well as an editor from The Running Times. The press room is where the majority of the media watches the marathon on race day and elites are shuffled into the press conference room right after finishing, so once the building went into lockdown, the majority of the press on the scene was not allowed to leave. We knew about as much information as those who were watching TV from home.
2. What were your first reactions? Were you working?
I was talking with my coworkers when we heard the two bombs go off. At first we thought maybe it was thunder and continued with our conversation. But, when one of the B.A.A. press reps came running into the room to declare the lockdown we knew it was serious and shortly after we found out it was a bomb near the finish line. My first reaction was, is all of our staff safe? We had four staff members running the marathon and we knew two of them hadn’t finished yet and one of them had just crossed the finish line. A Boston Globe reporter was sitting near me most of the day but he had been out at the finish when the explosions went off. He came running back in with his videocamera and was visibly upset, saying he had seen limbs and blood everywhere. We didn’t really know what to do. We tried to collect as much information as possible to get up on our website because we knew people would be coming to Runner’s World for answers.
3. How have you viewed the coverage? Have you used social media?
WBZ was playing in the press room throughout the entire day and when the bombs went off that was our source for information, besides the press people from the B.A.A. We had one editor who was on the photo bridge at the finish when the bombs went off so we were able to get a first-hand account from him. We were cautious about what we put out on our personal and official social media accounts. My editor first made sure we contacted our loved ones so they would know we were OK. It was hard to get information out and to get information in in terms of coverage, but we tried to get the most accurate, and officially confirmed information on our website. We did not need to make any corrections or redactions.
4. What are your thoughts today?
Today has been tough. I’m still trying to process everything that happened but I also have a job to do. As a journalist, my job right now is to stay calm and report as many facts as I can confirm. I’m working mostly on the local angle, what local running clubs are doing to help, how people can show support, as well as providing back up and ledes for our news editor. But as a Bostonian and a runner, I feel as though my family has been attacked. I can attest that both the Boston community and the running communities are full of strong, resilient people and we will get through this, but it’s not going to be easy. I am grateful no one from my team was hurt as a result of this tragedy but my heart just breaks for those who were.