Happy Sunday everyone. Last week was marked by shootings that left the city on edge. Local officials and politicians scrambled to address the ongoing wave of mass shootings. The Inquirer’s managing editor Patrick Kerkstra gives us a peek behind the scenes to talk about how The Inquirer covered these shootings in the Q&A below.

The week ahead

  • Look for continued updates on Maurice Hill, the suspect involved in the shooting and standoff that left six police officers injured. Attempted-murder charges have been filed against him.
  • The Eagles’ backup quarterback situation has been thrown for such a loop that they had to persuade a 40-year-old QB to play for them. As for how long he’ll remain on the team after the two injured backups — Nate Sudfeld and Cody Kessler — return is another question. The Eagles take on the Ravens this Thursday, so fans will be able to see how he performs.
  • Look for our story this week on South Jersey homeowners. They’re tired of how often their houses flood and are working with a state program to have New Jersey buy back their houses.

This week’s most popular stories

Behind the story with managing editor Patrick Kerkstra

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. speaks to the media at the emergency entrance of Temple University Hospital after a multiple police shooting in North Philadelphia.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. speaks to the media at the emergency entrance of Temple University Hospital after a multiple police shooting in North Philadelphia.

Each week we go behind the scenes with one of our reporters or editors to discuss their work and the challenges they face along the way. This week we chat with managing editor Patrick Kerkstra, who directed The Inquirer’s coverage of the police mass shooting and standoff that gripped the city last week.

Could you briefly walk us through how the newsroom handled this officer-involved shooting to give readers some context on how many journalists were involved?

The most important first step is to get reporters and visual journalists to the scene as quickly as possible. The early reports on unfolding stories like these — scanner chatter, social media, etc. — is something you look at closely and consider, but it’s vital to get journalists on scene. As it became clear how big of a story this was, more journalists got involved, from every corner of the newsroom. In all, easily 80 Inquirer journalists have had a hand in reporting, telling and distributing this story.

What are some fundamental and important steps journalists take when covering news of this magnitude -- news that captures the eyes of the country?

Getting the basic facts down is the most important first step, and that can be challenging in the early hours of stories like these. In chaotic breaking news situations, bad information is everywhere. The night of the shooting, for instance, it took a lot of time and intense reporting simply to identify we were reporting on the right Maurice Hill.

Why should readers come to The Inquirer for this kind of reporting? How does local news stand out against national outlets that can often dominate TV screens, social media and smartphones?

We had the most up-to-date, reliable coverage of the shooting throughout the long standoff and in the days that have followed. That coverage is brought to our audience by reporters with deep sourcing and years of experience covering this community. National TV had helicopter footage and pundits, and by the next morning, they’d moved on to other stories. Our reporting on this story has just begun.

You can stay connected with Patrick by following him on Twitter at @pkerkstra or emailing him at PKerkstra@inquirer.com

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

Have you seen Mural Arts’ latest mural of Philadelphia teen Najee Spencer-Young? You can see this on the 1100 block of Sansom Street. Thanks for capturing it @gerardruns!

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout-out!

#CuriousPhilly: Have a question about your community? Ask us!

Have you submitted a question to Curious Philly yet? Try us. We’re listening to our readers and doing our best to find answers to the things you’re curious about.

What we’re…

  • Eating: At a perfectly crafted picnic. Whether it’s Diner en Blanc or just a casual hangout with some friends, executing a top-notch picnic can get complicated. We’ve got a handy guide for what to eat and where to eat it.
  • Drinking: Càphê Roasters’ Vietnamese coffee in Kensington. A portion of their profits go to a local educational nonprofit that works to increase educational equity.
  • Watching: Blinded By The Light, a fun musical that transforms the music of Bruce Springsteen into a Mamma Mia-style sing-along. It’s based on the memoir of U.K. journalist Sarfraz Manzoor.
  • Listening to: Rick Ross’s Port of Miami 2, which features a cast of big-named guest artists from John Legend to Lil Wayne. Meek Mill makes an appearance, too.

Comment of the week

Congratulations to Claudia Vargas and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for thorough research exposing practices endangering migrant workers and consumers alike. The explanation of migrant farm workers has been a national scandal longer than anyone has been alive. Hopefully New Jersey will be able to provide national leadership in making both migrant workers and consumers safe. — Markcohenphilly, on N.J. blueberry farms house workers in storage sheds, pollute groundwater.

A Daily Dose of | The UpSide

This couple went into a Payless store just for a pair of shoes. Instead, they left with 247 pairs and paid it forward by donating them all to charity.