Lee Rigby murder footage controversy tested ITV boss: UPDATED

Tim Singleton, director of newsgathering at ITV, speaking at Leeds Trinity's Journalism Week

Tim Singleton, director of newsgathering at ITV, speaking at Leeds Trinity’s Journalism Week

An ITV boss said his team were vindicated and justified in their coverage of the murder of Lee Rigby – the  fourth most complained about story last year.

Tim Singleton, director of newgathering at ITV, was speaking at Leeds Trinity’s Journalism Week, and broke down the ethical and legal process his team went through in getting the story out – in a matter of minutes.

However, despite his best efforts, the murder of Lee Rigby was the fourth most complained about story of 2013, with common complaints accusing various media outlets of giving the attackers a platform to air their views and the graphic images of his attackers covered in blood were unsuitable to be broadcast before the 9pm watershed.

He said: “Was the source of the video linked to the attack? Was the video truthful? Legally where did we stand? Would we be in contempt of court? All those judgements had to be made in a few seconds and minutes.”

But he claimed there was a strong public interest in showing the footage and said his team edited out a clear confession as they may have been at risk of Contempt of Court.

He said: “It was important it was covered. We were vindicated and we were justified.”

Tim Singleton, director of newsgathering at ITN speaking at Leeds Trinity

Tim Singleton, director of newsgathering at ITN speaking at Leeds Trinity

ITV’s coverage of the murder of Lee Rigby saw them awarded with the Royal Television Society‘s 2013 Scoop of the Year and News Coverage – Home awards.

Tim also said that the attack took precedence over the killings in Syria, as it was a unique event that happened on the streets of Britain’s capital city and was in the public interest.

He said: “I would argue that it told us about an era of the ability of the internet to put unregulated material out there. I hope that this shows the TV news can still be first and can be resilient, brave and risk taking.”

Tim is an influential cog in the machine of news and he has a wealth of experience – which includes award-winning coverage of conflict around the globe – gained during his time as the Foreign Editor at ITN.

Tim told students:  “If it can happen to me, it can happen to you,” as he spoke about his journalist career that began in Leeds and reminded students they should never forget their roots. He added that advised hunger, determination, drive, willingness to go the extra mile are all essential traits for budding journalists.

After studying History and International Politics at Leeds University, Tim began his career with Calendar at ITV Yorkshire.

He added: “All roads lead to and from Leeds.”

He has covered a variety of major international stories, including the Indian earthquake and Boxing Day Tsunami. Produced by ITN, ITV News is a huge media organisation and has the second largest television news audience in the UK, behind BBC News.

Journalism students from Leeds Trinity University share their thoughts on Tim Singleton’s talk, including one who believes that there is a disparity between “citizen journalists” and “good old fashioned journalism.”

Tim Singleton responds to comments suggesting that there is a disparity between “citizen journalists” and “good old fashioned journalism.”

Tim Singleton’s entire talk:

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