I was rudely awoken.

It was 6:02am this morning. I was awoken by the rattling of my house’s roof tiles and the creaking of the roof timbers.

My immediate reaction was “That was a shock wave!” I knew that it had to be quite some way off because the shockwave lasted for at least a couple of seconds and hence had had time to disperse. I knew something big had happened but hadn’t deduced what.

Guessed that it probably wasn’t nuclear seeing as there wasn’t a lot of light outside. It could have been a meteorite impact, I supposed, not knowing of anything nearby which could produce such a high energy shockwave.

Anyway, so as to see if the news organisations had anything on it I turned on the telly. Well, the TV stations were still on the air, so that confirmed that it wasn’t nuclear as the EMP would have taken them out. At first there was nothing. on BBC News 24 Bill Turnbull did look a little confused as he was presenting other items, as if his director was shouting things down his earpiece. It wasn’t until about 6:15 that Sky News started getting any reports and they were of flames near St.Albans. It took BBC News 24 a further quarter of an hour before they started doing the same.

Now, the way that the 24 news channels handled this shows the best and the worst of the format. The best was that you didn’t have to wait for the next bulletin to get information about a bit event. However, it showed the very worst, the interminable rehashing of confused reports and over speculation, the twisting of the eye witness reports by the news readers to fit the more sensational story, probably partly to do with not listening to the eye witness well enough because of the director shouting in the earpiece.

One example of the latter was a caller from Luton who had been woken by the blast, he could see flames on the horizon, he told the presenter, and then turned on his radio to listen to the air traffic controllers, who had then said that there had been an explosion at the fuel depot. This was mangled by the newsreader who asked “So you did hear a plane go over just before the explosion?” at which point the eye witness tried to correct the false impression that the news reader was putting forward.

Sky News, as you would expect, was father more interested in the sensational side than the BBC with the presenters continuously prompting their numerous eye witnesses to tell them about the fictitious plane which they were sure had crashed.