Blasts were watershed for rolling news, claims Sky

By Caitlin Pike

Sky News executive editor John Ryley said Thursday was a watershed
for TV news with footage sent in by the public affected by the bombs on
air faster than TV camera pictures could be.

“Those pictures captured the horror of what it was like to be trapped underground.

TV news crews are always going to be there slightly after the event.

Technology now means that ordinary people involved in the story can send in footage of it unfolding.” Ryley said this would bring up issues for broadcasters such as the veracity of photographs.

He
said Sky News had received images from the public after the tsunami in
December 2004 that had been mocked up so waves looked far higher than
they had been in reality.

Ryley also said the images from the
public posed issues for the authorities as their handling of crisis
situations was now able to be recorded.

Jonathan Munro, deputy
editor of ITV news, deployed staff on Thursday, at times working
without a core power supply or mobile phone access.

“As people
started coming out of Aldgate with blackened faces we realised
something was seriously wrong. We already had three teams on the ground
– a team at Stratford for the Olympics had crossed straight over to
Liverpool Street. We had a reporter at Aldgate and a team from London
Tonight ran up the road to King’s Cross – it was easier for us than
some as our headquarters are so close to where it was happening.”

Like Sky, ITV happened to have one of its producers near to where the bomb on the number 30 bus had exploded.

Emily
Rueben filed an eyewitness report and Munro said it was at that point
that he started to mobilise reinforcements for the teams already at the
different scenes.

“I made the network aware that there was a
major story breaking and we discussed going on to the network with an
open-ender – basically switching to open-ended news on ITV without
knowing when it would go on until,” she said. In the end we
were on the network continuously from 10.12am until 7pm which I think
is the longest single openended broadcast we have ever done.”

As the day went on Munro said he had three main teams working to cover events and prepare for news programmes later in the day.

One team were delivering the rolling news with updates as they happened.

The
other were working on packages for news bulletins and the third team
were working on the two-hour ITV special that had been planned for 9pm.

“We had to pull in staff from their days off, but many of them just turned up anyway,” Munro said.

“We
also pulled in reporters, crews and satellite dishes from ITV regional
companies such as Meridian and Central. By mid-afternoon we had doubled
our contingency levels and this continued until Friday night.

“Communication was difficult. Texting
worked much better than calling mobiles. As we are so close there was a
lot of running around the streets with tapes and messages.

“We even managed when our main power supply at Grays Inn Road was temporarily affected by what had happened.”

The BBC’s home news editor, Jon Williams, said Thursday’s scenario had been pre-rehearsed.

“Madrid was a bit of a wake-up call for the authorities and broadcasters.

Since
9/11 there has been an ongoing discussion with government and
broadcasters about what would happen in the event of something like
this occurring,” he said. “I invited them to rehearse such an event at
the BBC.

“We had key talent at key locations because we implemented plans we had rehearsed, the framework was in place.”

Williams
also found communication difficult but after Madrid the BBC had
invested in satellite phones so that each of the radio cars and outside
broadcast trucks could use these when the mobile network became
congested.

BBC head of television news Roger Mosey said: “This
story was marked by the fact that people were sending in videos and
photos from their mobiles and that we had staff travelling through
London at the time of the bombs going off who were able to report
immediately from the scene which worked alongside deployment of
reporters.”

Comments
No comments to display

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ten − ten =

CLOSE
CLOSE