The quick response of a viewer helped Sky News beat the opposition in being the first to show footage of the burning Cutty Sark on Monday morning.
A ‘citizen journalist’caught sight of the ship on his way to work and captured a video on his mobile, sending it straight into the newsroom.
Associate editor Simon Buckley lives in the area and managed to get to the scene not long after. He collected more mobile footage from local residents who’d caught videos of the blaze, resulting in Sky broadcasting three different versions by 9.30am.
Most of the press arrived after the fire had been extinguished and were there to capture the aftermath, but Buckley said the rise in citizen journalism helped them get the prize footage of the actual fire.
He said: ‘It just shows how nowadays when a big story happens it’s unusual that there isn’t somebody on hand with a camera or a camera phone. I think it really has democratised news gathering, in that anybody can be a photojournalist with an inexpensive camera phone. You can get
really quite decent images, and because it’s on a phone, getting it to you is much easier by mms (multimedia messaging service) or by email. We’re seeing that citizen photojournalists are providing more material.”