'We were only source of information'

BBC Radio Cumbria editor Nigel Dyson told Press Gazette of the effects the Carlisle floods had on the station.

It
was cut off by the floods and staff were left stranded in the building
without any power. Emergency generators kicked in and reporters were
able to broadcast community information programmes so that victims were
able to find out what was happening.

Dyson said: “We were cut off
in the building from late on Friday until late on Sunday night. There
were no routes in and out of Carlisle until Sunday. We called in anyone
we could but we also relied on journalists in rural areas affected to
call in from mobiles and radio cars giving pictures of the situation
across the county.

“Back at the station we had no heat, light or
food. As soon as the power was down our generators fired up one studio
and a support and phone-in area. We were using a fraction of our news
facility.

We had to open the crisps and chocolate machine and people were eating snickers and flavoured papadoms.

“On
Sunday a member of staff cooked the entire contents of her freezer and
brought it in as it had defrosted when the electricity went off.”

The
BBC Cumbria website had more than two million ‘hits’ over the Saturday,
Sunday and Monday setting a new record. The station received scores of
e-mails from the public saying how much they relied on the radio to
deliver information. “For some people a battery operated radio was
their only source of information,” said Dyson.

“Some of the e-mails were particularly heart warming and Elliot Morley MP paid tribute to our work.”


Staff at the Sunday Herald in Glasgow rallied to produce a substitute
24-page tabloid after its normal colour magazine was held on a train
halted by flooding, writes Hamish Mackay .

Editor Richard Walker
has praised the salvage operation which was led by joint deputy editor
David Dick and magazine editor Jane Wright.

“With their help, and
that of a production desk and picture desk already up against Saturday
deadlines, the entire 24-page tabloid was put together in four hours,”
explained Walker. “It was, I think, an incredible effort and a tribute
to the commitment of all those involved.”

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