Phone footage of riot inspires ITV to recruit viewers

Footage was used on news bulletin

The post-football riots in Croydon last Sunday inspired ITV News in a drive to turn viewers into amateur cameramen and women after an onlooker’s footage of the fracas captured on a 3G videophone was used in a regional news bulletin.

After the crew for ITN’s London Tonight regional news programme arrived too late to record the riot scenes, contact with an onlooker yielded about 20 seconds of film of the skirmish between police and rioters, sparked off by England’s shock 2-1 defeat by France in the first round of the Euro 2004 tournament.

“You’d think that because it was filmed on a mobile phone, you wouldn’t be able to see it,” said Stuart Thomas, editor of London Tonight.

“We did a close-up on the phone and you could clearly see the cops running from one side of the street to the other and a guy being held down – you could clearly see there were running battles. This was moving footage that no-one else had.”

Now ITV News has put out an appeal on its website, asking viewers to send in up to 20 seconds worth of 3G videophone “breaking news” footage to the newsrooms, via email.

It must be labelled, giving the time and location such as ‘Riot footage, London 13/6/04 – 19 secs’.

The move heralds an update of the use of amateur video footage in news bulletins, the staple of many a regional report.

Last November BBC News reporter Richard Bilton filmed the arrival of the so-called ghost ship at Hartlepool on a mobile phone which was aired on BBC News 24 and BBC World.

By Wale Azeez

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