By Caitlin Pike
Virtual reality graphics, citizen journalism, satirical cartoons and
the nowstandard helicopter are all part of ITV News’ plans to beat the
BBC’s election coverage.
ITV News editor-in-chief David Mannion this week unveiled the
network’s plans for the campaign. “Our budget is much smaller than the
BBC’s but the [election night] programme will be all the better for
it,” he said.
“Journalism is it – the technology is to help explain the story.”
News will take over the London Eye on the evening of 5 May, giving it a
live backdrop of the Houses of Parliament as results are announced.
at the foot of the wheel will be the Silver Sturgeon – a luxury river
cruiser on which ITV’s celebrity election night party will be hosted by
Katie Derham and Mark Austin. The guests are expected to include Kevin
Spacey, Sir Richard Branson and Germaine Greer. They will be
interviewed by Katie Derham as part of the election night programme.
all-night results special will be anchored by Jonathan Dimbleby, with
Mary Nightingale returning to the studio for one night from maternity
Alastair Stewart is being pitched against the BBC’s Peter
Snow, using ITV’s virtual reality graphics to analyse results. Nicholas
Owen will be flying around in the ITV News helicopter and cartoonist
Gerald Scarfe will be in the studio drawing the memorable moments of
the night live.
Political editor Nick Robinson will lead the
campaign coverage. ITV News is using the public extensively in the
lunchtime and evening news with a “Ballot Box Jury” – a giant focus
group of 240 undecided voters from 20 marginal seats across Britain.
The News at 10.30 with Trevor McDonald will include “Unspun”, a regular
news feature analysing information given out by the parties.
4 has also named its election season “Unspun”, with a series of
documentaries. Channel 4 News will be extended and the news team will
pay particular attention to polling in key marginal seats. Jon Snow
will be prominent on the road covering the big campaign stories, while
Sarah Smith and reporter Katie Razzall will join the political team,
which includes Elinor Goodman and Gary Gibbon.