Sky News uses mobile and social media at Heathrow protest

Sky News reporter Derek Tedder reported from the demonstrations at Heathrow Airport this week using only his mobile phone and freely available online social media tools.

In an experiment in applying consumer-level social media tools to newsgathering, Teddler used his Blackberry to send 140-character text-message updates to the microblogging site Twitter and emailed pictures taken using the phone’s camera to the photo-sharing site Flickr.

Both the rolling news updates and the images were then fed into the main Sky News website.

The editor of Sky News online, Julian March, said: ‘The attraction is that a reporter can update his story without having to go through the content management system.

‘The best thing about it is the whole immediacy and there is very little editing, which I would anticipate that web users would quite like – that web-type transparency.”

March said Sky’s experiment was inspired by similar efforts at the BBC, where reporter Ben Hammersley recently reported on the Turkish elections using Twitter and YouTube.

Sky News has also been experimenting with using external social media tools. Twitter users can subscribe to various feeds of headlines, and the channel last week launched a Facebook application allowing users of the networking site to receive Sky News headlines from within their profile.

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