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Amidst Chaos, Britain's Community Newspapers Gather Facts, Clean-up Crews Gather Members, All Online

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, August 9 2011

In the fourth day of unrest in England, residents respond to rioting by organizing clean-up efforts and sharing breaking news online. Photo via Chris Choi / yfrog

As riots spread in England and the unrest in that country continues through a fourth consecutive day, Britain's community newspaper reporters are working tirelessly to sift fact from fiction for their readers, UK media news site Press Gazette reports.

In a round-up of coverage approaches by small-town papers and weeklies, the Press-Gazette's Michelle Alexander notes a handful of papers who are churning out video feeds, live blogs, pictures and videos.

Notably, these community papers are working with their readers, who are sending in what they've captured with their cameras and mobile devices. Here's the Croydon Guardian's Matthew Knowles, as quoted in another piece from journalism news site HoldTheFrontPage.co.uk:

The interesting line was the huge amount of misinformation on twitter. Some just blatant lies. We checked out as many as we could but the majority were nonsense.

“We proved to become a trusted source of news by only running lines that we had got firmed up or had witnessed ourselves despite temptation to run any breaking news we found. It proves that newspapers and professional journalism are essential to society.

“Having said that many members of the public took exceptional risks to send us video footage, photos and their stories from across Croydon which we used to paint the scene of horror as it unfolded and we are grateful for all our readers.”

In other London riot news, the New York Times has caught up with Egyptian bloggers who, after helping to kindle their own revolution, express disbelief at rioters who are looting the stores of their own neighbors.

And, according to the Guardian (London)'s always excellent live blogging of ongoing events:

  • The UK's tourism authority has asked that ads promoting Britain as a vacation destination be temporarily pulled from BBC's web video player;
  • Residents have started using social tools to take back their ravaged neighborhoods, such as a cleanup hashtag and a Tumblr to identify rioters;
  • London's Metropolitan Police are uploading photos of rioters to their Flickr feed.

For more, check out the Guardian.

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