NBC capped off a winning week of reporting on the Boston Marathon bombings by being the first network to report the capture of Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the lead suspect in the attacks.
It was around 8:43 PM when NBC cut to its local affiliate in Boston, WHDH. That station's correspondents could be heard confirming that Tsarnaev was in custody, and that he was alive. "It's over," one reporter said.
NBC had already been praised for the thorough, accurate reporting of Pete Williams, who became the journalist whose every word was closely monitored by others.
The arrest capped off a chaotic, nail-biting night, as journalists waited with bated breath to see if Tsarnaev would be captured.
There had been a distinct whiff of mounting cynicism about the progress in the case after public officials initially closed up shop on Friday afternoon, saying that they had not yet found a suspect. But all that was cast aside when the sudden news of a new round of gunfire in Watertown, MA, rocketed around the media. Soon, every network and website was glued to the story.
However, unlike Wednesday's botched reporting about an arrest--when several outlets essentially invented a suspect out of thin air--all of the differing facts were tethered to reality. Within around 90 minutes, the standoff was over. There was ultimately little confusion about what had happened; after NBC reported the story, other outlets jumped in, and the Boston police quickly confirmed it to be true.
NBC was, of course, not the only journalism organization to have something to cheer about. The Boston Globe, which became a powerful symbol of the city, moved the reporting around the status of the standoff, as well as of the FBI's questioning of three other people, forward.
ABC was the first to report that Tsarnaev would not be read his Miranda rights. It also scored the first interviews with Tsarnaev's father.
Boston's local television stations were also highly praised, and were used by the White House to monitor the situation.
Only NBC, though, got the biggest story first.