Londoners turn to Standard as horror of attacks unfolds

By Sarah Lagan

The Evening Standard held back its 9am edition after transport
editor Dick Murray burst into the morning news conference with news
that “something major” had happened.

The first issue went out at 9.45am headlined “Bombs on tubes kill commuters”.

Murray
had been on another job and received a call just after 8.50am from a
contact who had been on the train before the one that exploded at
Aldgate.

Murray said: “He was being evacuated at Liverpool Street and was literally running as he spoke.

“I
could hear yelling and screaming in the background. He told me he had
heard a tremendous bang and that there was a huge cloud of dust behind
him.

“An Underground contact soon confirmed that there were three
or four explosive devices. I ran into the morning conference and yelled
something major had happened.

“I remained in the office and dealt
with the transport side and the calls started flooding in – people were
on two phones at once.”

Journalists were deployed by whatever means and those out on other jobs were redirected.

As mobile phone networks went down journalists filed copy from phones in shops and offices.

Managing
editor Doug Wills: “For an hour after we went to print the rest of the
media, especially the TV, were still saying it was a power surge.

“By
our lunchtime edition we poured all our resources into it and included
a dozen pages.” The next edition at 3pm read “Carnage”.

Wills added: “At this point we were saying that 40 people had been killed.”

At 2pm Murray walked for an hour and a half to a press conference at the QE2 Centre as all the cabs were taken.

He said: “It was ok – they were only able to say what they knew. We got what we expected, not a lot but some.”

Although
there were problems with distribution caused by the tube being shut and
the roads sealed, the print run was increased by 100,000.

Wills
said: “Our distribution team used their integrity and knowledge of
London to move the copies around. It was all hands to the pump and
everyone managed to get the information out across the city as soon as
it was possible.

“In terms of news there has not been a week like
it from the euphoria of the Olympics, which was a superb operation, to
the devastation of the bomb. It was such a contrast.”

The
previous day the Standard was off stone at 1pm with 10 pages of
Olympics coverage. It had a number of pages ready to cover any possible
outcome and increased sales by around 100,000 that day.

● London
mayor Ken Livingstone has joined forces with the British Red Cross to
establish the London Bombings Relief Fund. The Daily Mail and General
Trust, parent company of the Daily Mail and Standard, has pledged
£150,000, along with £100,000 from the Standard, to a fund launched to
assist victims of the terror blast and their families. Chairman Lord
Rothermere said: “Everyone at DMGT feels deeply shocked and sickened by
the horrific events – we are proud that the company has donated a
substantial sum to this appeal.”

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