ITN CEO Rachel Corp – Photo Press Gazette

ITN and the coverage of the Queen’s death

ITN went in to full openender mode last month following the death of the Queen.

There were live news specials and extended bulletins on ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, as well as a large volume of content on other platforms, such as YouTube.

And ITN Productions turned around obituaries, documentaries, and discussion programmes hosted by Andrew Neil and Jeremy Vine.

On ITV News, the death of the Queen was announced by Mary Nightingale just after 6.30pm on the 8th September. Mary was also the newscaster who announced the death of the Queen Mother in 2002.

Halfway through the national mourning period, the new ITN Chief Executive Rachel Corp wrote in all-staff email:

“The ITN machine continues to swing into action as we reach D+4 and it’s a constant reminder of just how unique our organisation is.”

“The complexities and intricacies of telling a story of such national significance are second-to-none and it’s hard to think of who else could rise to the challenge of producing peerless footage which dominates the commercial channels’ schedules, whilst also having a vast global footprint.”

A few days after the funeral, Rachel talked more about the ITN coverage, when she delivered the keynote speech at the Press Gazette’s Future of Media Technology conference.

She said:

“For many of us in broadcast news, marking the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II was one of the biggest stories of our professional lives. These were scenes and a scale we had never experienced before and quite frankly are unlikely to experience again.

The responsibility weighed heavy: how to be an eyewitness to history; how to do justice to an extraordinary 70-year reign; how to celebrate and commiserate while also daring to contemplate the thornier questions about the future.”

Rachel also spoke about the tone of the coverage:

“Yes, we undertook years of planning, but nothing can quite prepare you for the actual moment when it happens. And yet, right across the board, I feel news organisations struck the right chord…

We have just experienced the most powerful reminder of the power of British public service television… and of our continued relevance to the nation no matter how deep the pockets of the US streamers.”

Full coverage in the October edition of the ITN 1955 Club Newsletter.