We're five journalists from the Dallas Morning News: Chris Siron (Breaking News Editor), Claire Cardona (Breaking News Producer), Ashley Landis (Photographer), Smiley Pool (Photographer) and Hannah Wise (Engagement Editor). We were part of the coverage of the July 7 ambush on Dallas police. From integral roles on the ground during the shootings, to managing the flow of information through the newsroom, we were able to keep the world updated as the night unfolded.

Today marks one year since the July 7 ambush, and we're remembering the day through photographs and interviews from citizens and officers who were there. We put together an interactive featuring the photos and video interviews. Here is a collection of our stories from that night.

EDIT: That's all! Thanks for all of your questions. Feel free to follow us on Reddit at u/dallasmorningnews.

Proof: Photo | https://twitter.com/dallasnews/status/883128432971743232

Comments: 45 • Responses: 22  • Date: 

immoralminority11 karma

I wanted to thank you guys again for how well you covered the events that night (and again later that week at Police Headquarters).

I followed your coverage mostly through twitter and the live videos that were posted there. How has covering stories through that medium changed the way you approach news?

dallasmorningnews8 karma

Thank you immoralminority. Having designated people to do Facebook Live and Twitter that night was a fairly new thing for us. It's definitely changed the way we cover breaking news. That night our website crashed shortly after the shooting, making our social media accounts imperative. Now we try to use our social media accounts and our website together. It's nice to have multiple tools to tell stories on different platforms.


martino1816 karma

What was it like being a reporter literally in the line of fire?

dallasmorningnews5 karma

Hi martino181,

Thank you for your question.

I was assigned to cover the protest that ultimately turned into the shooting on The Dallas Morning News' Facebook Live.

When the shooting started I was walking and starting to give a wrap up of the protest coverage to our live viewers. I was about at the intersection of Commerce and Austin Streets in downtown Dallas.

At first I thought that the shots was a firework or someone driving over an empty plastic bottle. But then police cars, motorcycles and officers streamed in the directions of the shots. I was still streaming live on our Facebook when an officer pushed me into a doorway and out of the line of fire.

A woman was running the other way yelling "They're shooting! They're shooting!" And that is when it set in that something had happened.

I wear a microphone when I broadcast so I was trying to be very careful about what I said. Questions were streaming in on our Facebook and I was trying to answer them as I could. But I had incredibly limited knowledge about what was happening — I only knew what I could see and hear for myself.

I said over the microphone that if someone in the newsroom wanted me to stop broadcasting that they needed to comment and I would stop, but the comment never came.

I remained live on our Facebook for about 45 minutes after the first shots were fired. Ultimately my phone died after my mom called me to make sure I was safe.

Frankly what I had just covered didn't set in until I was back in the newsroom being asked to speak on television news broadcasts around the world.


ImHereHoe5 karma

Did you see the protesters as anti-cop?

dallasmorningnews12 karma

I wouldn't characterize the protestors that day as being particularly one thing or another. It was such a large and diverse crowd it would have been impossible lump everyone together. Some people had signs and were shouting. Other people were walking their kids. So, if you talked to ten different people that day, you would have gotten ten different reasons why they were there.


kurtsteiss5 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA! As a photojournalist and as a Dallas resident for most of my life, I really appreciate what you all do at the Dallas Morning News. Both questions to the photographers:

-How did you deal with the initial shock that there was a shooter, and how long did it take you to switch from typical event coverage to spot news?

-And for a more technical question, what gear were you carrying during the march? I’d assume some Canon or Nikon body with the typical 70-200mm and a 24-105mm or 15-35mm, but I’m curious if you may have had a unique set of gear with you then.

dallasmorningnews7 karma

Howdy! thanks for being with us here.

As for initial shock and switching from one "mode" to another, that switch flipped instantly. Well almost instantly. I was filing photos at the time and jumped out of the car with cameras -- only to realize disks were still in the card readers. So, after that moment (not one of my proudest) of scrambling for my cards, I was in work mode.

Regarding gear, I had two 5D3's, 16-35 and 70-200. I was traveling light since chasing a march. Sure wish I would have had longer glass...


janeetcetc4 karma

What was it like covering this as a resident of Dallas, not just reporters? What was the newsroom like during that time? Thanks for all your work.

dallasmorningnews8 karma

The newsroom was bit a hectic, but everyone buckled down and got to work. After we learned shots had been fired, there was a rush to get as much confirmed as we could to let the public know what was happening. I think the newsoom was pretty wired until about 4 a.m., a couple hours after we'd learned the attack was over. We were also dealing with a new website and new publishing tools so there was a bit of a learning curve there, which proved frustrating at times.

I’d lived in Dallas for about three years at the time and covered breaking news for all three so in a way I’ve experienced Dallas and gotten to know the city through covering crime and other events. It’s a bit hard to separate the two. But when I left the office the next morning and saw the helicopters still circling around it felt totally surreal. All the protests we’d had in recent memory had been peaceful, and it seemed going into the July 7 rally that there was no reason this one wouldn’t be the same. It didn’t make sense.

I wish lifelong Dallas resident and DMN columnist Robert Wilonsky were in the room right now to answer this question, but instead here's a link to his column that went up July 8. I think he did a great job of putting into words what it was like to cover this as a Dallasite.

-- Claire

dallasmorningnews4 karma

I don't think I was actually in the newsroom more than about 2 total hours from the night of 7/7 until after I got back from covering the GOP convention and then the Rio Olympics. It was whirlwind of a summer for me. So, frankly, I have very little idea what the mood was in the newsroom.

As a resident of Dallas on-and-off over the course of my life (a year in high school, three years at the DMN back in early 2000's) my first impression that night was what a great job the DPD had done handling the march itself, and how amazingly well they handled the scene downtown as everything unfolded before-during-and-after the shooting.

It did occur to me that there we had entered that news vortex where "now we are THAT city" and I heard people mention that, however that impulse seemed fleeting.

My lasting impression of the way the city responded in the days that followed -- from city leaders speaking to the world, to small gestures of kindness from one person to another -- was that I could not have been more proud of our city.

This community's response to what happened here makes me proud to call this place home.


dallasmorningnews2 karma

It was a bizarre feeling knowing this was happening in our city, only a few blocks from our office. It's always something you think about happening in other cities, not ours. I grew up here. I learned about journalism from growing up reading this newspaper. It's still not completely real.

That night we didn't think about it being in "our city." We just went to work. It was a very instinctual time for all of us. If something needed to be done, we did it. It didn't matter that we hadn't slept or eaten. The newsroom just became a machine, and we just did our jobs the best we could.

I wasn't in the newsroom much in the days after the shooting. Photographers were out covering vigils and funerals and memorials and breaking news for most of the two weeks after. We talked when we could, but it was very business-like, at least for me. It seemed more important to keep going until the story was finished. Then deal with our own emotions.


neuhmz3 karma

Following the protest did other protests that you covered have a different feel to them? Like would you say it had an influence on how comfortable people are in the protest?

dallasmorningnews6 karma

During a prayer service today at Thanks-Giving Square I talked to two young people who were there on 7/7 and wanted to come out to one of the remembrances today -- but wanted it to be a quieter gathering without a large crowd.

There are plenty of people who are more wary of crowds, like one of the demonstrators from 7/7, Tytiana Long, said in our anniversary package: “You kind of think about every public gathering that could be possibly a setup for something to happen,” she said. “It gets scary.”

Survivors bare emotional scars of Dallas ambush that killed five police

So yes, some protests might seem to have been smaller and a bit more "chill" since then (particularly some of the very somber events I have covered after Jordan Edwards' death).

However, the some of the post-inauguration day protests (I think I covered eight protests in the first ten days) were a little more intense.

That said, even protests like the ones at the airport, or the women's march -- which where big, loud and crowded -- never felt threatening or anything like that.

Both at the airport and at the women's march there were demonstrators (and organizers) publicly thanking police and giving them high fives.

Which is how things were on 7/7 during the march.


sATLite3 karma

What was the most disheartening experience you had that day? What was the most uplifting?

dallasmorningnews5 karma

Hi sATLite,

Thanks for these questions. They are ones I have thought a lot about over the past couple weeks as we've approached the anniversary.

I was assigned to cover the protest by streaming it live on The Dallas Morning News' Facebook page. I was there for the speeches, the march and ultimately was still live during the shooting until my phone died.

The most uplifting moment I remember distinctly and I try to hold on to it. I was walking with the protesters West on Main Street passing through the intersection at St. Paul Street. The sun was setting and reflecting off the buildings. I saw some protesters taking selfies with officers. I distinctly remember thinking to myself that it was really amazing to see a strongly worded, but peaceful protest taking place in the streets of Dallas. Especially after what we'd seen following Philando Castile's death in Minnesota. It felt like a special moment for the First Amendment and for the community.

Not even an hour later shots broke out. The most disheartening thing for me was the loss of life. There is nothing like talking to someone who has lost a loved one. Nothing can be more disheartening than five people losing their lives, especially when they were protecting others.


mannformayor3 karma

Do you know if anyone has done a "deep dive" into the story of the shooter, maybe a book or long form article, detailing his background and upbringing, and what psychological conditions created his desire to do what he did? If this story hasn't been explored in depth, I'd like to know why. It seems not much has been said about him, but maybe I just haven't been looking in the right places.

dallasmorningnews6 karma

Hi mannformayor,

Our investigative team did a "deep dive" on the shooter that you can read here.

Our coverage has largely focused on the lives of the five fallen officers, their families and our community.


dallasmorningnews4 karma

This story is also a look at Micah Johnson.

Jawline_For_Days2 karma

What are the steps needed after getting a bachelors degree to get a foot in the door of news and journalism career wise?

How does it effect your own view of your job during instances where you might be put in harms way, or simply from being exposed to so much cumulative negativity during any given year of reporting?

dallasmorningnews3 karma

(Please send us a personal message, and I'll see if I have any good advice on getting -- or not getting -- into journalism.)

As far as the issue of personal safety goes: I came into downtown immediately after the shots were fired, surrounded by police vehicles. In fact, that's the only reason I got into downtown as quickly as I did. Given the circumstances, though, I can't say that being among potential targets made me feel safer.

But on those extremely, extremely rare occasions -- storms, crimes or accidents -- that I've been on or nearing the scenes, I can't say I've ever been thoughtful enough to consider whether there's any danger. Surely that means I've never been close enough to any real danger.

On behalf of others in the newsroom: Even when we were being warned (incorrectly) that "shooters" were being sought around the convention hotel near our newsroom, all of our reporters and photographers in the field continued moving toward, not away from, the scene of the ambush. I can understand if some of them may have been worried, but I can honestly say not one of the many staff members who showed up that night betrayed any signs they were.

You mention the cumulative negativity of reporting, and I'm not clear whether you mean the difficult circumstances journalists report on, or the negative reactions our work often receives.

If the former: I'm not qualified to answer that question. If the latter: I worry about whether the facts are right, not about how people react to them. We do the best we can to give information to people; what they do with it (and how they react to it)? All of that is up to them. -- Chris (an editor, so please expect me to edit my comments.)

dallasmorningnews3 karma

As cliche as it sounds, persistence really helps. Persistence and real life experience. You have to have something to show potential employers such as clips from internships and ideas about how you'd cover a story to attract a digital audience. It's no longer enough to just be able to write a good story on deadline. You have to be able to tweet and shoot video, build an online audience, etc.

With regard to cumulative negativity, a lot of journalists compartmentalize. It's not necessarily a healthy way to deal with some of the truly awful stuff but it's a means of coping so you can do your job. It doesn't always work and you do break down. Some stories will bring all the feelings you've tried to store away to the surface.

One of our reporters, Jennifer Emily, wrote a story that kind of touches on this topic and how she explained the concept of "bad guys" to her young daughters. In it she said, "It isn't because I don't care. I care deeply, maybe too much. Names and images rattle around in my brain. They creep to the surface if I forget to hold them back. If I kept them in my heart, I'm not certain I could function."

-- Claire

akjkakjk2 karma

What were the hardest decisions to make as photographers while you were covering the ambush? And in figuring out what else to show afterwards? Thanks!

dallasmorningnews8 karma

I think initially we were just trying to figure out what was going on for ourselves. Just point the camera at anything that moves. There were many photos we found later that ended up being VERY important, but we didn't know that at the time. In the moment, it was just important to document everything we could possibly document without sacrificing our personal safety. In the days that followed, there was so much to cover. We tried to show how the city was feeling. There was a lot of hurt, anger, rallying, and so many other emotions. I think we did our best to make decisions that reflected and honored those feelings in a balanced way.


Ashleysdad1231 karma


dallasmorningnews3 karma

This is the last I heard about Mark Hughes who was wrongly accused as a suspect in the shooting. I'm not sure if he ever got a meeting with police, or if he ever got a formal apology. -Ashley

jbbertoli1 karma

Hi, have you seen a change in the Dallas community as a direct result of the ambush and your coverage? What was it like talking to people a year later?

dallasmorningnews3 karma

I think in the weeks following the shooting, there was a different feel to the city. Things were very raw, for better and for worse. I spent 8 hours in front of DPD headquarters a couple days after the shooting, and I watched as hundreds of people lined up to come by and hug officers and share their stories and condolences. One thing that hit me hard was seeing all of the police officers and first responders who came from all over the world to help with funerals and just be here in solidarity with DPD and the citizens of Dallas. I think that feeling faded after a while, as those feelings do with time, but the anniversary feels raw again. Not to the extent of what it was a year ago, but I think it gives people that sense of wanting to band together and step up to represent our city in a positive light. As Mayor Rawlings put it in his column - "The Dallas police ambush didn't create heroes, it revealed them" -Ashley

dallasmorningnews1 karma

As far as talking to people a year later, I help edit reporters who have been conducting such interviews. But I haven't yet discussed their experiences with those people, so I cannot comment right now. On the bigger question: My personal view is that whenever large-scale public tragedies like this occur, you immediately hear, "Life will never be the same." As a longtime resident of Dallas, I'll say that over the long run, that isn't true in the huge ways the cliche suggests (unless of course you are one of the many, many people who were truly, deeply and directly involved). But there is a core of truth to it. You don't look at things quite the same way, even though "life goes on." I'm a downtown resident, and I drive by the scene of the shooting at least once a day. Even after a year, I still think often about what happened that night. I'm sure we all wanted to become better people because of dealing with the tragedy that befell the victims and their loved ones. As long as we hold onto that hope, then I think we can say there's been a change in the community. -- Chris (an editor, so please expect I'll be editing my responses)

bpgigty1 karma

Hi, thanks for this AMA. Are there parts of your coverage from that day and in the followup that you wish got more attention from a national audience?

dallasmorningnews2 karma

I do kind of wish each of the fallen officers individual life stories would get a little more "ink" or "air time" sometimes. All five of these officers left families and legacies. All five of them touched and changed people in our community's lives.

Due to tragic nature of that night, and the way the news business works sometimes, all five are forever linked both by the events and in the news coverage.

But each were individuals who served our community in ways most of us will never know.

So it is my hope that as the years pass, we (collectively) will continue to honor their lives and their legacies and maybe learn more about the "little things" that everyone of them did to make a difference.


kartoffeln514-1 karma

Why don't you condemn BLM, ANTIFA, and/or militant intersectional feminism? If you do, why don't you say it on TV?

dallasmorningnews2 karma

To begin with, no one has ever been hard up enough to put me on TV to say anything. I don't have any reason to imagine the few opinions I've bothered to form are worth attention from anyone.

I do hope the information I and others in our newsroom gather and share matters to our readers. But as I indicated in another response: How anyone reacts to what we report is up to them. People don't need my opinion on things. - Chris (an editor, so you can count on my editing my responses)

Rooster2000-6 karma

how much of the hatred of whites and law enforcement that some blacks have do you estimate is caused by the main stream media pushing the narrative that law enforcement systemically oppresses blacks?

dallasmorningnews7 karma

Speaking for myself: The time it would take you to explain precisely how you define "main stream media" and "pushing the narrative" wouldn't be rewarded with an answer smart enough to justify your efforts. - Chris (an editor, so it's quite likely I'll be editing my responses.)

_Cadence100_-8 karma

Do you think left leaning media outlets consistently whipping people into a frenzy, calling America racist and calling Republicans Hitler influenced the shooters? They weren't radicalized in a vacuum.

dallasmorningnews4 karma

First, I should say that my role in this from the first night and through the last year has been most involved in breaking news coverage, rather than investigative enterprise efforts. However, in response to the mention of "shooters": We know of no evidence, and certainly no official report, since the heat-of-the-first-moments rumors were quelled that more than one person fired on officers. I'll add that though some aspects of this ambush were unique, early reports of multiple suspects have quickly been discredited in many cases -- and not just high-profile, politically charged ones like this one. As for the central point of the question: I don't believe any of us involved in this AMA think of this event -- or others we handle professionally -- in the way it seems some people imagine we do. Speaking for myself, not our newsroom, it's not my role or interest to try to fit any event I work on into the zeitgeist. I can say our reporters interviewed many people about the gunman, and I don't personally recall sentiments or motives that align closely with what you describe.

-- Chris (an editor, so expect I'll be editing my responses)

Chiefs1234-11 karma

Is this fake news? Do you have any affiliation with CNN? Do you need to be a part of CNN to make things up. Why do you make things up?

dallasmorningnews2 karma

Are any of these serious questions, or did you just make things up? - Chris (an editor, so please expect I'll be editing my responses.)