How the news channels broke the UK terror alert

Rolling news channels had a huge advantage over the printed media when news of a massive UK terror alert broke in the early hours of last Thursday — too late for last edition newspaper deadlines. Here is a timeline of how the main broadcasters rose to the challenge:

5.40am

Radio Five is the first broadcaster to break the story when business producer for the channel Joe Lynam, who was at Gatwick, tips them off about the story.

The BBC's online service reported a huge leap in visitors, and according to a BBC spokeswoman it was one of the biggest days on record for traffic with 6.8 million unique users and 50 million page views.

She said: "AV [audiovisual] had its biggest day for unique users after 7/7 — with 562,700 users — the News 24 live stream being the top item by a long way.

‘Have Your Say' received 10,000 emails and over 600,000 page views on the main debate page."

5.53am

Sky News claims it is the first television channel to break the news when Sky News Sunrise goes on air seven minutes early to report that a major terrorist plot to blow up aircraft in mid-flight had been foiled.

By 6.30am Fox News has begun simulcasting Sky News and continues to take the channel's content and interviews with Sky News reporters as international audiences tuned in.

More than 3.1 million viewers (three times the average number) tuned into Sky News at some point across the day to get updates on the terror plot and the disruption caused to the UK's airports.

10.30am

For the first time, ITV's 24-hour breaking news team are called into operation in response to the breaking news.

The team, which was founded in January following the closure of ITV's 24-hour news channel in December, set about collating material from a team of reporters across the country, which was used in an hour-long news special on ITV1.

An ITV spokeswoman said: "The events last week meant that once the network had cleared the schedule we were able to broadcast a one-hour news special on the terror plot at 10.30am and offer ITV viewers a comprehensive programme on the plot ahead of the onehour lunchtime bulletin."

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