Why on earth did Michelle May’s live interview with the couple “who just went in for diesel, we were running a bit low, we always go in there, we had been out for the afternoon and were just on our way home…” drag on so long at the top of the hour (6 o’clock I think). If it was meant to keep me tuned in, it only made me zap!
Sky News was the undisputed winner in the race to report the arrest of quadruple murder suspect Mark Hobson.
It beat rivals BBC News 24 and the ITV News Channel hands down yesterday when Mr Hobson was picked up at a service station near the village of Shipton on the A19 north of York.
Sky reporter Michelle May started broadcasting from Shipton at about 4.45pm, an hour after armed police swooped on the garage owned by Derek North, who alerted police after Mr Hobson came into his filling station to buy matches and cigarette papers. May told viewers that a “rumour” had prompted her to travel there. Her crew was the first television team on the scene, and it is also thought she arrived before ahead of print journalists.
Her camera crew broadcast live pictures of the armoured vehicle that took Mr Hobson away from the scene just before 5pm. At 5.10pm Sky was first to confirm the arrest, beating the other broadcasters and the Press Association, saying three separate police sources had corroborated the story.
ITV’s reporter arrived in Shipton at about 6pm – by this time locals Anne and Trevor Hainsworth, who had been on the station forecourt when police arrived, had repeated their story to Sky several times. The BBC was last on the scene.
Following the revamp of BBC News 24 six months ago former director of news Richard Sambrook said he preferred his network to be accurate rather than first with a story.
But even after the two witnesses had told Sky what had happened, the BBC reporter was still saying that police would not “confirm or deny” the arrest. It remained cautious until after 7pm when police confirmed the story.
The story was a coup for Sky: recently the BBC has captured ground on its rival, and the two 24-hour news networks are roughly neck and neck on ratings terms.
It was a notable recovery for Sky from its embarrassing coverage of the Glasgow plastics factory fire in May, when it was caught out because its only satellite truck in Scotland had been deployed elsewhere. BBC Scotland, which is based in Glasgow, was quickly on the scene of the tragedy and ITV was able to make use of the resources of Scottish Televsion. It was several hours before Sky could broadcast pictures from the scene.