back to article Sky wins TV riot battle

For years Private Eye has been making fun of 24-hour rolling news, and its pointless obsession with Going Live! It documented how this crept into scheduled bulletins – reporters standing pointlessly in front of empty buildings or roundabouts, where nothing at all was happening. The internet seemed to make rolling 24-hour news …


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  1. Tom Chiverton 1


    Video already unavailable.

    1. Dotter

      Not so fail.

      Works for me.

      1. Jeremy 2

        Re: Not so fail.

        It was replaced with a different vid (presumably a copy of the same).

        Here's another of note:

        Thief: "Are you a journalist?"

        Stone: "No, I live here. I'm just astounded at what you're doing..."

        Theif: "Well we're getting our taxes back, innit?"

        Ugh....... She's probably not paid a penny of tax in her life.

        1. BorkedAgain

          "Waterstones... not touched..."

          Says it all, really...

        2. XMAN

          'The only people hurt are insurance companies"..

          Some idiot commented on the video that this is only harming the insurance companies. What a load of nonsense.

          Firstly, an increase in claims will cause a small increase to everyones insurance premiums. As we all know, nearly all forms of insurance provide a discount based on you having no claims. If you claim on your insurance this year, you can bet that your renewal price is going to be much higher.

          Aside from your renewal costs going up, insurance premiums in general will increase as the level of claims increase, so it will also affect other businesses.

          Many insurance companies will exclude glass cover (ie. windows) after 3 or 4 claims. That may sound like a lot of claims but that's not per year, that's overall. If you have a business in a busy high street (especially anywhere near a drinking establishment) then you'll know it's not uncommon to have your business' windows damaged.

          Aside from insurance costs, because of this damage, a lot of businesses will be closed for a certain amount of time. That means staff won't get paid and the store will lose money. It also means that I can't walk down the road and buy a fucking scart cable (I don't want one, but you get the idea).

          So please, don't be so naive to believe that the only people being harmed are insurance companies.

        3. goats in pajamas


          Cus she never bought anything in a shop and paid 17.5% - 20% VAT.

          People like you are worse than the rioting kids - at least they're bright enough to know they're being stupid.

          1. BorkedAgain

            @Goatse - you're trolling, right?

            Is it official now that JD Sports and Dixons are the places to go for your VAT rebate?

            "Gettin our taxes back, innit" is a shit excuse, and I rather suspect the scrote in question knew this herself. She was stealing. She's a thief, not a freedom fighter. A criminal, not a crusader.

            'bout time we shipped some water cannon over from NI. Just saying.

          2. Jeremy 2

            @goats in pajamas

            You're right, of course, just what is the duty on White Lightning and cheap fags these days? Assuming she doesn't just nick that too, of course...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    [utterly pointless title field]

    I'm generally a supporter of the BBC and anti-Sky but I have to agree with the article. Sky News last night was vastly superior to the BBC. I was switching between them for a while but gave up on the BBC in the end as they did nothing other than loop one piece of footage and repeat the occasional unconfirmed Tweet.

  3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Google says it's "Imodium" (I was with you, I mean,stands to reason), and: really?

    It is described as an opioid, but, if that's what you're into, it's not a very good one. Except for what it's for. Presumably. But not for infants, it's killed some.

    Wikipedia says it's also the original title of a song by Nirvana. Wiks apparently misspells it as well, there[*], but I'm not going to change it because I don't know whether it was in fact the band's misspelling, deliberate or otherwise. It definately may be. :-)

    According to critics, with Nirvana it's about the noise they make rather than the lyrics, and I suppose titles are just so that you can tell when one song ends and another starts. In fact you have to look twice to decide it's not a shopping list. Territorial WHAT - well, maybe it's "to dos".

    Sherlock Holmes for The Seven Per Cent Solution.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Since you mentioned a band and mind altering substance,...'s some music for the occasion:

    2. Dave Walker 1

      @Robert Carnegie

      Thats Imodium, the anti-diarrhea drug...

      You have to wonder what on earth they were thinking...

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        @Dave Walker 1

        I'm guessing that when putting yourself on the receiving end of a Riot Police baton charge you probably need something to avoid crapping yourself....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          I bet they needed it

          when the Jankels bore down on them! Those things can properly shift...

    3. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: [utterly pointless title field]

      Its reliance on Twitter and The Great British Public means the BBC reported riots in Manchester which never happened. That's a Fail.

      1. Jedit

        Riots in Manchester...

        ... that were also reported on Sky News a few hours after you posted, because they actually did happen. Here's a link to a story with a picture of Miss Selfridge on Market Street in flames:

        Care to reappraise your assessment of the BBC's fail?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      BBC coverage was dire, Sky's was excellent - I too being normally anti-Sky News. Their reporter in the thick of the Clapham looting was pure balls of steel, and the quality of the reportage throughout the night was pretty sharp. They also could tell the difference between a 'van' and a 'lorry'. Their helicopter also appeared to have a more reliable fuel tank...:p

      Not as great tonight (not as much happening; good news obviously), but still way ahead of the beeb, who're stuck in that never ending loop of recycled content.

      1. G Wilson

        Sky journalists

        I've not been anti-sky news for a while, because I'm often impressed at the nerve of their journalists. I'm thinking Holly Williams in a street in China confronting armed "police" on their behaviour, and Lisa Holland attempting to put herself physically between a rape victim and her Libyan captors.

        Sky journalists act is if they're competing to see who can get the riskiest story. We need more like them, and less of dense journalists reporting what they saw on TV...or just making stuff up to sound important.

    5. Tim Boothby


      Fully agree. The BBC were caught napping big time. Major story going off on their doorstep and they seemed to have nobody on the ground whatsoever.

    6. L.B

      I have been avoiding BBC "News" for more than10 years.

      BBC "News" has been crap for years.

      Nothing gets reported unless there are pictures for the idiot masses to oggle at.

      Nothing gets researched to verify that its not a load of tosh.

      The level of understanding by the BBC's own self proclaimed experts is minimal at best.

      Any loon can claim to be an expert if they have a friend at the beeb, and talk complete cobblers with no counter argument (see Panorama's repeated abuses).

      SkyNews is not perfect, but compared to the BBC it is excellent and it has been for decades. Although many refuse to try it simply because the dirty digger owns 39% of the company, it is amazing how balanced there reporting is, even when their chairman/owner is in the spot light.

      You don't have to be a Sky subscriber to watch it, it is free on Freeview.

      For those people with an attention span of more than 30 seconds and who are interested in what is actually happening around the world; I would also recommend they try watching France24, NHK and some of the other foreign (Non-US) news services available on Sky. It will take you back to the good old days when the BBC News reported what was actually happening, even when that meant having the presenter reading a report and showing a map on screen.

      Those real news channels also never spend hours reporting the moronic twaddle of some halfwit who just happens to be passing the camera crew or sent in an email/Twitter.

  4. Captain Black
    Thumb Up

    Sky was good but didn't anyone see Al Jazeera?

    I was flicking through the foreign news channels to see their views (whilst Sky News showed adverts, and continued to repeat it's aerial view of the fire in Croydon) and there was a bloke with some body armour on, and some sort of riot helmet, standing outside a fence of Morrisons car park while people were looting the place, then they all started throwing things over the fence as the police turned up!

    Now I dont know if this was another channels feed, or Reuters or something, but if not then I think Al Jazeera did a fab job with that report.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Didn't see Jazeera, but

      It was on CNN Worldwide, live.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    3. Mayhem

      Al-Jazeera was brilliant

      Posted this yesterday, but still applies.


      What I found really fascinating last night was watching Al-Jazeera on the London riots, as compared with Sky News and the BBC.

      Sky had the usual talking heads, half of whom regularly demanded the police bring in water cannons, despite being told repeatedly that they are illegal for use on mainland Britain, the nearest available ones are in Northern Ireland or France. Only one person really had a clue, and their reporter was great.

      The BBC had one talking head who spent most of the time saying he had no idea what was really happening, he was drowning in information from twitter, eyewitness reports and overhead footage but it was very very hard to find the story amongst the clutter.

      Most people phoning in were very much 'disgusted of tunbridge wells' types, more interested in saying how much they hated what was happening than in describing what was happening.

      Al-Jazeera had several strategic reporters, all of whom were superb at relaying useful information about their areas. They brought in two different advisors who were deeply familiar with the subject of rioting and uprisings. The most interesting was the observation that it was *only* young people - 14-22yr olds. Unlike many other places, the older people were not involved, and the organised criminal elements were not visibly involved. Which suggested that they were selectively turning over the quieter parts of town while the police were otherwise occupied. The main mass of problems was randomised peer-group oriented destruction. One kid starts, the next follows, and then they're all into it. What was clear was that many of them had no idea what to do with their loot once they had nicked it, there were anecdotes of kids carrying large TVs a half mile or so down the road, then realising that a TV is *heavy* and that they weren't having fun any more, so they'd dump it in a garden, and go back for more mayhem.

  5. 100113.1537
    Thumb Up

    Continuous loop...

    Thanks Andrew for a very insightful piece. I live in Canada and get BBC world news which I hardly ever watch if something is breaking because of their ridiculous addiction to a continuous loop - sometimes with as little as 30 seconds (the Oslo bombing for example). Not that anything else I can get here in North America is much better - I have pretty much given up on broadcast news and only watch TV for entertainment - news is better online.

    I remember a long long time ago when TVAM lost all of its engineers during/after a strike - the managers and admin staff who took over to run the show would try anything (broadcasting live over satellite phones of dubious quality, for example - remember this was pre-smartphones) which they would never try with "real" engineers.

    In addition to the 'Elfin Safety' issues, I wonder if there is still too much of a perfectionist culture to allow a journo to use in iPhone.....

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Frank Drebin

    BBC's coverage on Sunday night reminded me of Frank Drebin; "Move on. Nothing to see here";

  7. Anonymous Coward


    What it highlighted to me was just how awful the iPhone (I assume 3GS) camera really is...

  8. LPF

    @Robert Carnegie

    Seriously WTF are you going on about??

  9. 5.antiago


    I hated the whole Mark Stone contribution, it was far too loaded with his own personal opinion on things. He kept asking leading questions, clearly pushing his own "clever" analysis. The question "Is this fun?!?!?!" was the only attempt to speak to any rioters throughout the whole evening and was clearly never intended to elicit a response.

    His interview with the two Clapham residents (after the police turned up) also irritated me for the same reason. They kept on giving him answers that didn't fit his theory: *yes* there were locals present, *yes* there was a clear political under-current, *yes* it's a lashing out of some kind, *yes* it's more complicated than mindless robbery, and finally *yes* you could go and speak to the rioters if you want. Stone kept on twisting and turning to shoehorn in his ideas even in the face of contradictory eye-witness testimony. Finally, he actually put it down to a difference of opinion, and Sky didn't show the last part of the interview again.

    The visuals were excellent, but I wish the news would fuck off with their bundled simpleton views. I only watched Sky because I wanted to follow what my FB friends were watching

  10. Anonymous Coward 101

    I watched BBC news early on Sunday morning...

    ...and the BBC were there 'on the ground' filming some youths smashing the shite out of a police Astra with bricks and stuff. Some youths then blocked the camera and eventually pushed over the cameraman and the reporter. After this, could the BBC then have taken a firmer 'elf n' safety' stand to prevent employees going there?

  11. Northwald


    Immodium is teh trade name for Loperamide Hydrochloride, commonly used to treat sudden short-lived diarrhoea. Usually taken one as and when required, maximum 8 in any 24 hours.

    Therefore, we are looking for suspects NOT on the run.

  12. Anonymous Coward 101


    What did the youths in the video expect to loot from Wimpy? Tasty food?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Tasty Food??

      Er, I know they're stupid, but even they wouldn't have been expecting to loot tasty food from Wimpy!

      1. Ru

        Think laterally

        Fuel's expensive these days... clearly there's value in looting fast food outlets for their cooking oil!

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      That, I repeat, is Imodium. One M.

      If you can't get it then Heroin(TM) has a similar effect. And some other effects. It does say "opioid" on the Imodium packet, I assume, or the leaflet inside, and maybe if you boil it up with, I dunno, vinegar or something... well, I dunno.

      "The Seven Per Cent Solution" is a novel and a film that treat Sherlock Holmes's substance recreation differently to the usual, but it refers to cocaine, although I don't know if anyone else in the world took it that way. Moriarty as criminal mastermind and arch-enemy is a delusion, for instance, but the former arithmetic tutor is persuaded to help out by leading the demented Holmes to the one doctor in the world who can help him, Sigmund Freud of Vienna, and, look, if you aren't going to believe me then just Google it.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Pushed over! LOL

      That's terrible. Give them the Victoria Cross!

      Martin Bell and John Simpson kept on reporting after they were shot. If the student wimps the BBC employs now can't cope with a push, they shouldn't be there.

    5. XMAN

      Not that bad really :/

      I'm not an apple fanboi but I'd have to disagree with you. Considering it was dark outside, its pretty good quality. My nokia would give me a nice big black blob if I tried to record under those conditions.

    6. yoinkster


      There's a button clearly marked "Reply to this post"

      I wonder what it could possibly be for?! Your comment is entirely wasted because the person you are talking to is miles up the page. The button is there for a reason. Learn to use it,.

  13. TIMMEH

    At least someone is trying to do their job

    Looking through news from the last couple of days, I have read one speculative opinion piece after another. It seems journalism these days largely consists of sitting in an office checking Twitter while waiting for your Private Investigator chum to access someone's voicemail.

    Hats off to Sky for having some actual, well, coverage, in their coverage.

  14. Ian Ferguson


    If BBC funding wasn't being repeatedly cut, and journalists/editors being constantly laid off, maybe they'd have the resources to properly cover this kind of event.

  15. kempsy

    More info than just Sky

    Seems this website has some useful info on this - I suspect on this basis the Sky reporter was lucky...

    1. Citizen Kaned

      but then...

      how would they fund 20 antiques programs a day? :)

      the beeb gets plenty of money, it just spends it badly. look at how much the radio 1 DJs earn from TV tax....

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. Anonymous Coward


      What do the 400 BBC staff we paid to go to Glastonbury this year do the rest of the time? Some of them must style themselves "journalists", surely?

      1. Jim Bobble

        Cuts, my arse.

        Yes. Because clearly, a corporation that spends £1.4bn of the telly tax on BBC One, spoonfeeding us Hole In The Wall and Strictly Come Dancing, is in the doldrums.

        The World Service does a far better job than its domestic cousin and on a much tighter budget. Which leads me to the point that Sky News also has a significantly smaller set of resources than the BBC - so shouldn't their ouput have been poorer than the BBC's infinite loop?

    3. Tim Boothby


      The BBC is the best funded broadcasting organisation in the world. It doen't necessarily need a lot of money as demonstrated by a lone Sky reporter who happened to live in the area going out on his bike with his iPhone and doing a better job.

  16. Eponymous Howard

    What a thoroughly odious anti-BBC rant

    Chasing the flames may make great drama, but it makes shit journalism.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      That's odd.

      There was me thinking that going out on the ground and getting the story was what made good journalism and that sitting in a studio pontificating with your mates was the shit stuff.

      The Beeb do a very good job at the traditional news bulletin format, but I am afraid that Sky have them nailed to the cross when it comes to the 24hr rolling stuff.

      1. Jedit

        Only in video

        Around 0030 the BBC had live audio reporting from a Guardian reporter who was not only on the ground but undercover among the rioters and looters, calling in what he was seeing from his mobile. When it comes to big swinging balls of steel, that guy made the robot in Transformers 2 look like two peas at the foot of Nelson's Column. If he'd been caught out, I wouldn't give a tuppenny damn for his chances.


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