Riot coverage hard work pays off for London weeklies

Newsquest‘s weekly newspapers in south London reported 550,000 websites visitors and more than two million website page views in the space of three days this week as journalists worked round the clock to provide coverage of the riots which swept the capital.

Meanwhile in north London, where the riots began on Saturday night, Newsquest’s Enfield Independent attracted 203,000 page views from 57,000 unique visitors on Sunday.

Journalists there filed 20 stories for online between midnight on Sunday and 6am on Monday morning. They also produced a special London riots web channel and maintained a 24-hour blog until Thursday lunchtime.

South of the river, journalists on the Guardian and News Shopper series kept readers informed with video, picture galleries and constant live updates.

They also played an important role in verifying false rumours which were spread by Twitter users.

Newsquest South London web manager Paul Jones said: “It was an incredible effort by everyone involved, from reporters and photographers in the thick of it to the newsroom posting things as they happened.

“We were determined to be the trusted source of information. While others were publishing rumours from Twitter as fact, we checked every piece of information we found before posting.

‘With a constant stream of breaking news it was fast-paced and hectic, but this is what we do, it’s what we live for.

“And comments we have received since show that people really appreciated the fact we didn’t simply re-publish scurilous rumours and gossip, but stuck to the facts.

‘And the coverage helped produced some amazing newspapers.”

He added: “No one thought twice about coming in to the office until 2am or 3am each night.

“And it was heartening to see that readers turned to their community newspapers for information because they expected it to be there and be correct.

“We were fielding calls from international news agencies who told us they were following our live updates to source their news, which is always a compliment for a newsroom working with limited resources and pure passion for their area.”

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