One week ago, the UK was hit by a troubling series of riots, first across the capital, and then across the nation. What we here at The West Londoner didn’t realise is that by the end of it we’d be in the thick of it.
For me, the coverage of the riots began at 1am on Sunday night (7th August). I was contacted by Gaz who told me that riots were springing up over London, he was liveblogging and he needed my help. That night I can’t say I was of much use, I simply made some MS paint images of the places where the riots had struck, and then scanned Twitter for rumours and confirmations of things that were happening.
It was really on Monday afternoon when things really began to hit us. After the unbelievable traffic success of Sunday night, we believed we may have had something going here, so when things kicked off the following day, Gaz and I were assisted by Xenia and we began liveblogging for a second night. All of your support was overwhelming, and we received many comments that really hit home for me personally why we were doing this. At around midnight on the Monday, the fatigue was starting to hit us. We’d all slept for a mere few hours the night before and had been liveblogging for around nine hours. We agreed to put up a small PayPal donate button on our article, to see if we could scrape together some small donations.
It is at this point I’d like to thank everyone who has donated to us and say that it’s made a big difference to us. I’d also like to thank the great people at Budweiser UK, who sent us some beer for our work.
Tuesday was the day where we planned on taking it easy. A couple of the team left their homes, rather than staying glued to the laptop screen, and I began to work on another roundup article, the way I’d done on Monday morning. However, it began to kick off again and without Gaz I took control of the liveblog. Gaz returned a couple of hours in and took over, and I manned Tweetdeck with Xenia on the Facebook page. This structure stuck and became our formation for tackling the waves of news and requests.
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And so it comes to this point, a week after the incidents began and a lot of tiredness, stress and destruction later, and I just want to say that it’s been a privilege to get to help so many people and that for me personally, it still hasn’t sunk in just how much of an effect we had. None of this would have been possible without you guys, and I’m extremely grateful to everyone who sent in information and supported us over the four nights.