As 2021 draws to a close I wanted to take the time to reflect on some of the most interesting and compelling pieces of news coverage Ruptly has been at forefront of this year. As with last year, news was dominated by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and with the recent rise of the omicron variant it looks likely to stay at the top of news agenda as we head into 2022. However, outside of the ongoing pandemic there were many other historic and political moments that were captured by Ruptly’s international team.
A defining moment was the fall of the Afghanistan government to the Taliban through July and August and Ruptly was there from the start of this power-shift. Our coverage did not start with the US announcing its withdrawal of troops, we were there on the ground throughout the entire year covering the mounting tensions across the country. This allowed us the privileged position of gaining exclusive coverage of many key moments. One such exclusive was being the first news agency to establish a live transmission from the checkpoint between Afghanistan and Pakistan as it was taken over by the Taliban in July.
Our people on the ground then covered the following weeks that led to the capitulation of Kabul- with our cameras exclusively broadcasting this event live on the night the government finally fell. On September 9th we were the first news organisation in the world to publish images of the Taliban taking over the Tomb of Ahmad Massoud, a significant symbol of the resistance in Panjshir region.
Our coverage was also bolstered by bespoke sourcing and verification of valuable pieces of user generated content through our industry-leading verification unit. Through independent geolocation, analysis of the digital footprint of uploaders, we were able to verify the accuracy of hundreds of items of footage that featured in our coverage during these historical events.
US Capitol Riots
Another landmark news moment of 2021 was the breach of US Capitol on January 6th. Ruptly anticipated the escalation of the protests on the eve of the announced rally and deployed two live crews and four journalists. We were prepared to go live from two separate camera units placed outside the US Capitol and as we did the mob of protesters broke inside the building. This gave us the chance to follow them with live cameras, securing exclusive images and documenting the dramatic events that then unfolded.
In May violence escalated in the Gaza Strip and thanks to our live footage, the world was watching. For us it was a prime example of intra-newsroom collaboration at its best. In one of the world's most media-saturated regions, a combination of speed, local knowledge and dedication helped us secure top-level coverage. This included bombings, violent clashes, political reactions from Israelis, Palestinians and those abroad, as well as protests and rallies in support of both sides. We were live, from the right place at the right time and despite limited resources- in comparison to other news agencies- we were able to offer one of the most diverse offers of coverage on the market.
As I mentioned above, this was and is an ongoing significant news story of interest to news broadcasters and online platforms the world over. It has dominated the headlines and we have been covering every aspect: from the preparation of the vaccination hubs around the globe, to the first injections for the elderly, as well as the continuous vaccine rollout. We also documented the social impact of restrictions as they came to bear, the economic backlash which affected many and finally the protests against restrictions and against the looming mandatory vaccinations in some countries, which we documented with lives, packages and even drone footage.
Weather events, natural disasters
As the effects of climate change continue to become increasingly evident, 2021 was marked by many extreme weather and natural-disaster events which we always covered live with boots on the ground. Some of the events we covered included; the torrential floods that devastated western Germany; the devastating wildfires in Greece over the summer; the continuous eruptions of the Volcano in La Palma; and the recent tornadoes that destroyed entire communities in Kentucky. No matter where, our team was on the ground, bringing instantly available live footage to make sure the world was witness to the immense power of mother nature.
Haiti Presidential assassination
When Haiti's President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his private residence in the capital, Port-au-Prince, on 7 July 2021, once again Ruptly was there. Our agency was among the first news outlets in the world to publish verified footage from the crime scene. We were also the only news agency in the world able to establish a live transmission from the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, broadcasting the streets and the presidential palace in the immediate aftermath of this tragic event.
We look forward to what 2022 has to offer and to continuing to live up to our reputation for capturing exclusive coverage of the latest breaking news stories across the world, and delivering live breaking news footage to newsrooms and online platforms before anyone else.
By Laura Lucchini, Head of News