Ipswich evening paper swamped by media

Ipswich Evening Star journalists have brought out 12 extra editions, a 16-page supplement and produced hundreds of web updates since news broke that a serial killer was apparently targeting local prostitutes.

Since the discovery of the body of the first dead girl, Gemma Adams, on 2 December, all the way through to Tuesday when the total number of deaths had reached five, Ipswich Star staff have been working flat out to keep the story updated.

Editor Nigel Pickover and his team have also been swamped with media interview requests from news organisations around the world, from New Zealand to Toronto.

Ipswich has been flooded with hundreds of journalists — with The Sun alone putting a team of 14 reporters and five photographers on the story.

Pickover said: "The media siege is something else. We've got the world's media camped here covering Britain's biggest serial killer. It's becoming a bit of a strain for the newsdesk having to handle the media as well as get the story out. Everybody's been doing interviews.

"This ranks with the Yorkshire Ripper case I covered when working in Sheffield, and we also dealt with 9/11 live on the day and put out late editions. Along with these stories this is one of the biggest of my career."

Within minutes of news of a fourth and fifth bodies being found on Tuesday, the Star broke the story on its website including quotes from chief superintendent Stewart Gull who has been leading the manhunt to catch the killer or killers.

On Wednesday the paper took the rare decision to print a broadsheet wraparound page for the front and back with a picture of the latest police scene for a special 9am edition.

It also launched a campaign to prevent young women slipping into drug addiction and prostitution, along with a "Somebody's Daughter" memorial fund.

Pickover said: "The front and back are one huge image which is very dramatic. Taken with a long lens camera, it's a very haunting picture."

Sales of the paper and its extra editions sold out over the weekend, and web manager James Goffin reported 120,000 page impressions on Monday and Tuesday. An online book of condolence drew hundreds of messages, including comments from relatives of the victims.

Pickover said: "Among the tributes is a very strong story from the brother of one of the murder victims which we might not have got through doorknocking.

It turned into a print splash.

"We have the grandmother of one of the girls saying she hopes the killer rots in hell, so at every turn we've been showing that talented local regional journalists can deliver excellent journalism.

You get the big boot brigade come and wade through, but we are the local bible."

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