- 12 Jul 07, 09:00 AM
So, just an hour to go until we start the liveblog from the News 24 gallery - as discussed here yesterday.
In response to yesterday's post, a reader asked for an outline of my day before and after I'm on air. Are you sure, Kenneth?
I get to the newsroom at 06:30; our first editorial meeting with the News 24 team is at 07:15 - where we talk through what we're expecting from the day's news agenda, and how we'll cover the stories, which angles to pursue, which guests to chase; another meeting (this IS the BBC, after all) at 08:00 - where we talk logistics with our newsgathering colleagues and the One O'Clock News team: this essentially agrees where to send camera crews, live trucks and correspondents.
Then grab a coffee and into the gallery for 08:20, and by 08:30, we're away - and that's where I am until 13:00. Then a debrief, a sarnie and it’s planning for the next day...
Some of the stories I'm expecting to make the headlines today: a "friendly fire" inquest into the deaths of two British soldiers in Iraq; later, we should get the interim report into the US troop "surge" in Iraq; we have some compelling material on the issue of domestic violence; and we'll see the Queen visiting the Tyne Cot Cemetery to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of WW1 Battle of Passchendaele. But I can guarantee some news that is entirely unplanned.
See you at 10:00.
UPDATE 10:00 - here we go!
It's Ten O'Clock. New top story to lead on - inquests.
But what we're most interested in is the Queen throwing a strop on camera (ahem).
PS: You can watch News 24 online by clicking here - feel free to ask any questions that come to you...
10:04 - Just breaking some news from the Press Association. Sixteen-year-old girls from London found with £300,000 worth of cocaine in Ghana..
10:05 - There's an interesting debate going on... BBC news and BBC programmes don't always point in the same direction. Today, there's some disquiet in parts of the BBC about using the pics from the Queen programme at this point - but news is using them.
10:07 - The story about delaying inquests for UK troops killed abroad is powerful in so many respects. It's a political story - but it's also very personal. And the man we talking to now, whose son was killed in Iraq, and had to wait three years for the inquest, illustrates that.
10:09 - Our defence correspondent Paul Wood has just nipped into the gallery to suggest a slight change to our script on this story, to make it clearer.
10:12 - Within a few minutes of hearing the Ghana story, we've got a map to illustrate it. But it's one we've got on our system, we didn't have to make it fresh.
10:16 - My presenters (Simon and Kate) are teasing me about this blog - it's going around and around in ever-decreasing circles. Apparently I'm in control.
10:18 - Just working out what to do on the arrests of the 16-year-olds in Ghana. we've got a corr in Accra who will hopefully be able to do a report for us soon.
10:22 - On the case of the Shambo - the sacred TB-ridden cow - our religious affairs corr is live. We're dropping the pre-recorded report just to go live to Robert.
10:23 - Just had a text from Declan Curry telling me he's keeping up with the blog on a train. The pressure is now on...
10:24 - Quick work from the director as an unexpected sound source popped up in the studio. It sounded like cartoons.. didn't go out on air, I should say...
10:27 - Foreign Office is offering assistance to the girls arrested in Ghana. The statement says 'next of kin have been informed' - has echoes of what the F.O. says after military fatalities...
10:29: There’s a massive difference between continuous news and a bulletin, in terms of how you manage it. In our situation, we could not run a live studio and gallery with the level of stress and tension that is the norm during a half-hour bulletin. If we operated at that level we would implode! When there is frantic breaking news, we're at that level. But generally we have to keep people as calm as possible - if we were at each others throats continuously, we might not make it to lunchtime!
10:30 - We're trailing ahead to a special day of coverage we've planned for tomorrow - tagged 'After the Floods'. We're back in most of the areas worst affected by the flooding, trying to offering practical advice to those affected. Promises to be an interesting day.
10:34 - We're about to dip into the House of Commons, because Alistair Darling is taking Treasury questions for the first time... Not that we're expecting any great news from it, but it's an interesting moment in politics.
10:39 - We're now running some previously researched material on domestic violence - we think it's very powerful.
10:41 - We've a very enthusiastic and tight-knit team of journalists on News 24. They work very well together. One of the producers has been having a nightmare getting all the elements of her piece for today together... and she's been cheered up by other members of the team, who have been singing to her in the newsroom.
10:45 - Interesting decision to be made - where to place the breaking story from Ghana. It's new, it's unexpected, and interesting at various levels - but covering it is very very difficult. All we can currently offer is a telephone piece with our reporter there, and our correspondent in vision at the Foreign Office. The story is what we call 'picture challenged' - but it's so interesting that we intend to lead on it at 11. Seeing the volume of traffic to the story on the BBC News website helped us make our minds up.
10:49 - Oops! You didn't notice that did you? Good.
10:50 - At 11:00, the presenters, directors and studio producers change shift, and a new team comes in. Muggins here, however, goes nowhere until lunchtime...
10:53 - A very late change to the running order there, to provide an update on the Ghana story. Done with just a moment's warning. It shows the value of the N24 presenters - fantastically flexible and quick thinking, and generally good humoured!
10:58 - A comment - from David - asks where I sit in relation to the presenters. Physically, I'm about 20m from them - they're behind me over my right shoulder. They are, however, far closer electronically. They hear my voice whenever I need them too, and I can see them continuously on gallery monitors.
11:00 - A very quick debrief with the presenters - back in a minute...
11:07 - Our man in Ghana has finally made contact with us... seven minutes after we wanted him. Communications problems with far-flung reporters are an occupational hazard.
11:12 - First pics from inside the Red Mosque have popped up. Our reporter is going in as well. But the first shots available to us are from Pakistan TV. Matthew (presenter) is ad-libbing this - ie, without a safety net - giving lots of description and background. Works well.
11:15 - As I mentioned, we have no pictures to illustrate the Ghana story. We are getting, from our news library, general shots of Accra and Accra airport.
11:19 - As you may imagine, an awful lot of information that we gather doesn't end up on air. For example, earlier we were checking out an evacuation of a busy railway station, after a suspect package was found. It turned out to be simply an unattended bag, and given the level of tension following the recent attempted bombings, the station was evacuated. These incidents occur almost daily and are seldom reported.
11:22 - Andy - luck!
11:25 - We run what we call 'floats' to illustrate live interviews and reports. So our reporter at Maidstone Crown Court talked about the arrival of Chris Langham (the actor) as we showed the footage. She described the events as we ran the pictures. Obvious really, but harder to line up than you'd imagine.
11:31 - I'm talking to our reporter at the Foreign Office, but i can't see her - i could hear her, she could hear me, but we're looking at nothing but bars. Ah, there she is... She'll be on air in a moment..
11:34 - Unfortunately, reporting NATO casualties in Afghanistan or UK/US casualties is a depressingly regular occurence.
11:36 - We can link up live to our correspondents all around the world - but try to do a two-way with our political correspondent at the Foreign Office and the picture keeps breaking up. Don't you just love technology.
11:37 - Just had to pull out of the live two-way because of the poor quality of the feed. The team down there will move position and hopefully things will be OK by 12...
11:39 - Just had a note sent to me by one of our correspondents, who was told recently by the Queen that she and Prince Philip watch News 24. Nice to know! Just sending the note to the presenters...
11:41 - Just slipping out of the gallery for a moment, back soon,.
11:46 - I'm back...
11:48 - A member of the team has just said to me that a lot of emails and texts are coming in from viewers who feel that our domestic violence material (which I mentioned previously) isn't reflecting the number of men who suffer from this problem. We're going to use some of those messages to try to address their concerns.
11:50 - There's a story about a plane that's been diverted due to security concerns. Deciding which of these alerts are a scare, and which are serious, is one of the trickiest parts of the job.
11:56 - The Press Association puts out an apology from the BBC to the Queen, over that documentary. We've known for 30 minutes or so that an apology was imminent, but we're only able to report it now.
11:57 - The apology will lead the bulletin at 12.
12:04 - Just recorded some shots from Ghanaian TV (Re the drugs story). Will be interesting to see what it shows...
12:05 - Hmmm. Not sure we can use those... the hunt goes on.
12:07 - The inquest that I was once hoping to lead on at 12 - it now doesn't start until 12:30...
12:10 - Trying to illustrate the story of Formula 1 team McLaren being fined. There was a moment of amusement in the gallery when the only picture we could find, at first, was of Steve McLaren (England manager). We chose not to use that.
12:12 - Andrew: Thanks for the kind words! But not sure my heart could stand it.
12:13 - An occupational hazard at the BBC - various outlets are competing to get the correspondent du jour on air.
12:14 - Just starting to get a little stressed... not sure if you can tell!
12:16 - Just trying something a little risky - see if you can spot it!
12:17 - The ability of our presenters to remain calm when all hell is breaking loose in the gallery never ceases to amaze me.
12:20 - An interesting, but hugely libellous comment in my ear from one of the directors. It's a good thing there's no live stream from here..
12:22 - We've had to chase around two major breaking stories this morning - as well as the usual news agency flashes/alerts. No busier than usual, but now we're having to turn our attention to the story we've been expecting all morning - the friendly fire inquest.
12:23 - Nipping out of the gallery again... back in a moment.
12:31 - I'm back.
12:32 - Luckily, the viewers won't have been able to see one of our presenters nudging the other to start talking there..
12:34 - Just jiggling the order around to allow our reporter at the friendly fire inquest to gather some more information...
12:37 - Obviously, by the way - when I said at the very start that the Queen was having a strop, I was mistaken! Ahem. Her Majesty doesn't DO strops.
12:46 - Trying to line up some guests on the Queen story. Might require some last minute juggling if they don't come through...
12:52 - Sorry for the delay - My computer was just doing something that both confused and worried me. I think it's over.
12:54 - Coming up to One O'Clock - the end of my four and a half hour stint in the gallery. Unless we're rolling with major breaking news, we simulcast the BBC One O'Clock News. We can break out of that when we need to (hope that answers your question williamt) - but, at the moment, we're not intending to today.
12:58 - As we go into the weather, and hopefully, the One O'Clock News, thanks for all your comments - it's been a fascinating experience for me. We should do it again sometime!?!?!.
13:00 - Over and out.
Simon Waldman is morning editor on BBC News