The blast devastated large swathes of the city, killing over 200 people and injuring at least 6,500 others. Caused by a fire at a storage facility that contained nearly 3,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, it was one of the most powerful non-nuclear blasts in history.

Ruptly’s local video crews were at the site within minutes. Within an hour, the agency was the first media to have a live feed up and running from the scene and continued livestreaming throughout the night and the next morning.

Over the coming days, as protests erupted against what many saw as a preventable tragedy – and the authorities responded with force – Ruptly’s video journalists were also on the ground to cover all the street clashes live.

Ruptly’s video crews were caught up in the blast and tear-gassed during the protests – but carried on working for 13 days. Their footage was streamed live in 21 countries, and, combined with news packages and other video content (which was broadcast in a further 25 countries), was seen by over 30 million people around the world.

Commenting on the announcement, Ruptly CEO Dinara Toktosunova said “Live news is at the core of what we do so this is a tremendous honour and a tribute to the dedication of our newsroom and our field producers, freelancers and camera crews. This award shows that what we are doing has real positive value and impact.”

The Shorty Awards, now in its 13th year, were the first awards show to honor social media. By constantly evolving along with the changing landscape of the medium, the Shortys remains the most prominent award show of its kind.