London. 9.11am. Liverpool St has been closed after a 'bang'

By Alyson Fixter

The first official report of a disaster on London’s transport
network came at 9.11am from Reuters news agency, which put out an
urgent 50-word news snap stating that Liverpool Street station had been
closed “after a ‘bang’, possibly power related”.

The same story was up on PA four minutes later, shortly followed by
the rolling TV news channels. Eighteen minutes later, a second urgent
Reuters snap revealed that “several” stations had in fact been
evacuated, and included an eyewitness report from a Reuters reporter
who had called in from Euston.

Howard Goller, editor of the
agency’s world newsdesk, oversaw the news coverage which included about
50 reporters working across London on the story.

The agency’s
cover story for the day was written by Mike Collett-White, Reuters
entertainments editor, who had been travelling in to work by taxi when
the bombings occurred.

Collett-White, who returned from a
seven-year stint as a war reporter last November, said: “I was on my
way to an exhibition, but when it became clear this was not a power
surge, we turned the taxi round and I went in and offered to write the
trunk of the story for the day.

“[As a former war reporter] your
mind is attuned to focusing on what you need from the story as opposed
to being overtaken by events. But although my name was on the story,
there were about 20 people running around.”

PA editor Jonathan
Grun said that staff were told at first that the Liverpool Street
explosion was caused by a power surge. “We soon had a source telling us
there had been bombs on the tube – and we realised that the day we had
all hoped would never happen had actually arrived,” he added. “From
then on it was a great team effort.”

By the end of the day, staff had run 473 pages of copy and moved more than 80 pictures.

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