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My Experience

Saturday, 13 August, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

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.

* * * *

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.

Categories: Opinions
  1. Stina
    Saturday, 13 August, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    Thank you west londoner !!!! You and your team are fantastic !!!!

  2. Saturday, 13 August, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    You were something very important on those nights – a source of information. BBC & SKY were very slow, possibly deliberately withholding information to stop panic. Personally I needed information not silence. I informed friends via Facebook of the situation and that was thanks to your information & Twitter. I posted about the Ealing situation hours before the BBC.
    You are now on my Bookmarks Bar. Here’s to quieter times

    • Sunday, 14 August, 2011 at 1:29 AM

      Quieter times indeed. Our main objective was to be current. We didn’t want to remain looping each hour, or posting hourly or nightly updates. Our aim was to be direct and to engage with those we were informing. I’m glad we succeeded

  3. Tim
    Saturday, 13 August, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    I would like to say, that as a Londoner by heart, even though i don’t live there anymore, you were the guys and girl i turned to when i needed to keep an eye on things for family and friends. Thanks again for all your hard work

    • Sunday, 14 August, 2011 at 1:30 AM

      You’re all more than welcome. Nice to hear so many nice responses to our work.

  4. Saturday, 13 August, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    Great job all of you. I tweeted, FBed and emailed this out to all my friends in the US concerned with what was going on. Yet again blogs prove more useful for finding out what is going on than “traditional” media.

    • Sunday, 14 August, 2011 at 1:31 AM

      The problem I find with traditional media is that they make sure they’re in location or that they have solid facts. We weren’t afraid to say “Look, this might be happening, but we’re not sure”. Traditional media don’t have that ability, coupled with the formalities that they have to abide by.

  5. Saturday, 13 August, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    Good work guys. You were the most reliable news source throughout. Thanks again for everything you did.

    • Sunday, 14 August, 2011 at 1:33 AM

      Thank you. It was our pleasure to help.

  6. sandrine
    Saturday, 13 August, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    Thank you. You were the most reliable and up to date source of information during those troubled nights.

    • Sunday, 14 August, 2011 at 1:33 AM

      That you, the sentiment is much appreciated (:

  7. mandie
    Saturday, 13 August, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    Thankyou west london for a job well done during this madness, for all us that were scared you helped us to remain calm you were our guardian angels on a night ruled by the devils
    love to you all xx and thankyou

    • Sunday, 14 August, 2011 at 1:32 AM

      Your words are much appreciated and you’re more than welcome. Thank you.

  8. Sarah,Uxbridge
    Saturday, 13 August, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    Hi guys… I cant thank you enough… tho i try to control myself… i am a panicer… a worrier… and have anxiety issues… to have you giving the running commentary… distinguishing rumours etc, has kept me sane. I cant thank you enough… and continue to spread the word of your tremendous work xxx

    • Sunday, 14 August, 2011 at 1:35 AM

      This is the reason why we kept on, because we knew that we had begun to make a difference. We strived not just to report the facts, but to reassure people that they were safe. While traditional media were concerned about where things were happening, we tried to make sure we were letting people know where it was quiet, where things weren’t happening at all. We felt that was just as important.

  9. Saturday, 13 August, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    A word of thanx for the accurate and fast news over the days and nights that the riots were kicking off .From my base outside of LOndon I was able to use your reports to work out ways for others to make their ways home without running into hotspots .My mobile,internet and tweeter lines were soon full to overflowing passing your reports onto people on the street …..They have asked me to pass back their thanks to my “sources”. Thats you guys.
    In most cases you were MUCH faster than the Beeb and other mainstream media outlets . What we wanted and got were simple facts .Whats open and safe and whats hot and not .Just the basics . People love to exagerate and thats a fact so it was also great to find you dispelling rumours. Thanks again Vikas ♡

  10. Graham
    Saturday, 13 August, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    You have done a fantastic job over the past week and your efforts are much appreciated. You have gained a lot of followers and I hope you can build on this foundation to achieve more success in the future.

  11. joanne lackey
    Saturday, 13 August, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    What can i say! You were all fantastic on delivering such important news on what was happening around the capital. I know you saved a lot of innocent people walking right into the thick of riots! I for one, wish you success in the future.

  12. Carl
    Saturday, 13 August, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    Just outstanding – thanks

  13. alex2
    Sunday, 14 August, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    Solution to Riots

    First of all, as an African, i am shocked at the nature of sudden breakdown and sense of madness that we have all witnessed during the riots. London is a great city, i admire our city, its full of great sceneries, its just so unbelievable to see what happen in the moment of civil madness.
    Prime minister Cameroon whom we all admired and elected to lead us, might just have to reconsider certain approaches in reducing the tension which still exist after the worst riots in British history.

    1 Prime minister Cameroon, should directly address the youth, let him get the youth on his side, the youth don’t need an American cop to come and lead them. Our police force are fantastic, the current acting commissioner excellently directly spoke to the parents asking them to find their and ask them to return home.

    2 Prime Minster Cameroon, speak to the parents, don’t attack, parents elected you to power, get the parents on your side, parents have the authority to rain down on their children, parents listen the acting commissioner, its why the riots subsided, not because the politicians intervened.

    3 Prime minister Cameroon, lastly address the nation, the nation need your support to move forward, British people are not happy, reassure the people, “laws and arresting” these are not the solution to what has happen. Weigh all proposals you have just ordered, Britain must not be allowed to look that bad.

    4 Lastly allow the police some time to reach out to society and bridge a relationship which our democratic values shines upon.

  14. wendy
    Sunday, 14 August, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    a huge thank you from a very worried mum who was home alone with her children during the riots. I was very thankful that somebody out there could allay my fears a little, knowing that my area was quietening down around 3am allowed me to get a little sleep before the children woke and demanded my attention for the rest of the day. I passed on your blog to all that could benefit. well done, enjoy those beers🙂

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