Sky News

Sky News is to break new ground in television news with the launch of a new channel dedicated to bringing its coverage to viewers with the stunning picture quality of high definition (HD) television.

The launch of Sky News HD is scheduled to take place in Spring 2010 following an upgrade to studios, production facilities and newsgathering operations in the UK and overseas. It will be the first UK news channel to broadcast in HD, bringing together first-class journalism with the sharpest picture quality to bring viewers even closer to domestic and international news.

Sky News’ commitment to HD will reinforce its reputation for innovation alongside its ongoing mission to be first for breaking news. Sky News HD will be simulcast alongside Sky News’ existing standard definition channel, and with an updated HD studio, HD resources in the field and HD graphics capable of delivering a 3D look on-air, Sky News will deliver a clear, crisp and compelling new experience.

The commitment to launch Sky News HD follows the channel’s successful first ever HD broadcast and HD online streaming of Barack Obama’s Inauguration in January 2009 – and, from launch, Sky News will bring spectacular HD pictures to viewers from around the globe as experienced HD cameramen work alongside the channels’ world class UK and foreign correspondents.

Sky News HD will launch in Spring 2010 once its headquarters in West London have been upgraded to provide an HD broadcast capability. In addition, work will also be carried out in some of Sky News’ busiest bureaux in the UK and overseas to support HD production.

Sky News’ production teams will undertake dedicated training to get the most from HD technology, alongside staff in areas like make-up, which requires special techniques to be used for HD broadcasts.

Over the last 20 years Sky News has established a reputation for innovation and pioneering technology through ground-breaking coverage including launching an interactive news service, live channel streaming online and introducing a newswall.

The move to embrace HD not only adds to this list of news broadcasting milestones, but also responds to increasing viewer demand for high-quality programming with the intensity and vividness of HD.

Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s Chief Executive, said: “Sky News continues to break new ground in television news and it’s only natural for it to become the first UK news channel to launch in HD. It’s great news for our Sky+HD customers, giving them access to award-winning breaking news in HD for the very first time and further expanding the choice on offer.”

Head of Sky News John Ryley adds: “Sky News HD marks another landmark for a news organisation, now in its 21st year of broadcasting. It’s an investment in the future of news, for the audiences of today and tomorrow. It is a vision that clearly defines Sky’s strengths, passion and restless pursuit to be first and to be the best.

“As well as enhanced studio presentation and compelling on-air graphics, news is also about the drama of human emotion: from keynote speeches and police news conferences to picket lines and joyful crowds at ceremonial events, HD is an opportunity to bring our viewers much closer to events, building on one of Sky News’ existing strengths, and we’re delighted that we can now announce we will be working towards launching this exciting new service next year.”

Sky+HD is Europe’s leading HD service with over 1 million customers. Today Sky+HD customers can watch 33 HD channels from leading brands such as Sky Movies, Sky Sports, Channel 4, Disney, MTV, BBC, Discovery, FX, Sky1 and National Geographic. Sky+HD customers can choose up to 400 hours a day – or 12,000 hours a month – of quality HD content, which is significantly more than any other TV platform.

With growing consumer demand for the richer, more immersive experience of HD and an ever expanding HD content line-up, the number of Sky+HD customers grew by 243,000 in the first three months of 2009. By 31 March 2009, the total number of Sky+HD customers stood at 1.022m, up from 465,000 a year earlier.

Exclusive Five News Investigation finds only 1% of alleged drug rape cases ever result in a conviction – Five News has uncovered shocking new figures that reveal a mere 1% of alleged drug rape cases end up with a conviction. The investigation has also revealed that only 3% of reported cases actually make it to trial at all and that just 13% of people who report drink-spiking go on to be drug tested after reporting the incident, despite testing being available which could help provide evidence at any future trial.

Five News’ Crime Correspondent Jason Farrell conducted an in-depth investigating into drug rape over three months and uncovered the disturbing figures after submitting a Freedom Of Information request to the police forces in England, Scotland and Wales. Jason found that out of 110 drug rape cases reported to a selection of police forces across the three countries, just 1% ended in a conviction and only 3% at trial. And of 160 cases of reported drink-spiking in the same forces, only 13% were tested for traces of drugs.

During the course of his investigation, Jason spoke to many women who allege they have been drug raped – the vast majority of whom reported not feeling properly supported by the police in their search for justice.

Jason found that because drug rape is often hard to prove – the victim has memory loss and may have appeared compliant at the time of the incident – evidence that someone has been drugged is crucial to any criminal investigation.

But Five News’ study discovered that only 13% of people who report their drinks as having been spiked are actually drug tested when they report an incident.

Jason found that often they are told it’s too late for the tests to work, even though experts have confirmed that the tests can still be effective days after the event.

Five News spoke to Mike Scott Ham, Leading Toxicologist for the Forensic Science Service, who explained: “Most of them hang around for quite a long time. Rohypnol is actually one of the easier ones to detect – myself and several colleagues have taken Rohypnol, and given urine samples over a period of time to see how long we can detect it for. In everyone it was detected at four days and in some it was detected at seven days.“

In the course of its probe, Five News discovered a possible reason for the low level of testing – the cost. “The problem is that the tests cost around £1,000 each and more often than not they come back negative for drugs and positive for alcohol” said Five’s Jason Farrell. “During my investigation I spoke to a number of drug rape victims and most felt their case was poorly investigated and that the accused was treated with more respect than they were.”

Catherine Xulu, an alleged drug rape victim, was told that the jury were unlikely to be sympathetic to her case because she had been at a club and had been drinking.

Catherine spoke to Five News, waiving her right to anonymity in a bid to bring the issue to the public’s attention. Catherine said of her experience: ”People just assumed it was consensual. People just assume that you know what you’re doing, when you don’t.”

In a bid to bring her case to court Catherine obtained her own copy of CCTV footage from the club on the night she alleges she was drugged and later repeatedly raped both outside and at home: “The investigating officer said to me there’s nothing on it, there’s nothing on that CCTV footage – there’s no point watching it. And when I said to them I had been spiked, they said to me ‘you couldn’t have been spiked because you could walk’”.

However, Former Chief Superintendant Dave Gee, a leading advisor on drug rape to the Home Office, says potential victims should always be tested: “I think where the allegation is made – or where it is suspected – every time samples should be taken. If it is the victim’s wish…then that is what they should do. “

Five News has travelled to Zambia and Mozambique with international charity World Vision to produce an exclusive in-depth week of reports on the five killers of under fives, starting Monday 8th June.

Over nine million children die each year before they reach the age of five, from easily preventable diseases and nearly all child deaths – 99% – occur in the developing world.

World Vision figures have revealed that diarrhoea, considered a mere nuisance to most of us, is among the biggest killers of children under five in the world. Despite a cost of under 10p for a pack of oral rehydration salts, diarrhoea kills 1.7 million children a year and ranks at number two in a list of the biggest killers illnesses of children under five – many of these cases occurring in Africa where unclean drinking water, poor sanitation and a lack of knowledge about the causes of the condition are to blame. In Zambia, Five News’ chief correspondent Jonathan Samuels met two families affected by the curse of diarrhoea. 2 years ago Evelyn Kambeu lost her nephew, Wellington, to diarrhoea. At just a year old, he died in less than a week of contracting the illness.She rarely talks about her loss, but eventually found the courage to tell Jonathan what happened.“The little boy fell sick at night, vomited and then had diarrhoea. We eventually took him to the clinic and he was given some medication. But it was not enough. He soon passed away.”“It was a terrible time for us. We prayed the child would make it but tragically he didn’t. As a family we still think about Wellington…we look at other boys the same age as he would be now. We see them playing and we miss him terribly.”In contrast, Prisca Yumba’s nephew, baby Moses, has had diarrhoea but he is lucky and received the simple remedy of salt and sugar mixed in hot clean water in time to save his life. Priscia explains how she can now recognise the signs that the baby is in need of treatment for diarrhoea: “Sometimes the baby stops eating. Sometimes the baby is not even crying, but just looking at him he looks as if he is dying.”“I know I have to get fluid into him, get him the salt solution.” Jonathan said: “We see diarrhoea as just a nuisance in the UK. The people of Zambia know it is a killer stubbornly refusing to disappear. “Around the world diarrhoea kills 4 and a half thousand children everyday. And yet rehydration salts costing just 7 pence can treat it. With the help of charities like World Vision little things are saving little lives. A simple outside toilet with ventilation, a way of keeping out flies and water and soap to wash hands makes a huge difference. Even a simple dish rack which keeps clean plates off the floor and away from bugs is an incredibly useful way of maintaining hygiene. But there’s a long way to go.

The international community has promised to reduce child mortality by 2/3rds by 2015. But while the number of child deaths has fallen, it is not falling fast enough to meet that goal. If things do not speed up, 4 million child deaths will happen in 2015 that could have been avoided.Jonathan’s full report can be seen on Five News at 5pm tomorrow and will be followed by reports throughout the week on Malaria, HIV&AIDS and a day in the life piece, looking at the daily struggles of a five year old in rural Mozambique.

But people are no more likely to vote for a Labour Party led by someone else – For full story visit Skynews.com Seventy eight per cent of people who took part in an online Sky News panel want Mr Brown to go now, but 69% say it would make no difference to how they vote in a general election.

2,878 Sky News panellists completed the survey between 4th and 8th June and results released this morning show that four in five Sky News panel members say Labour backbenchers should mount a leadership challenge – but nearly a third of them (30.16%) don’t care who takes over.

Asked which issue had most damaged the Government, 38.72% said MPs’ expenses and a quarter of Sky News panellists said it was the economy.

Other members of the Sky News panel pointed to a distrust of Labour politicians, a lack of direction and spin.

New Home Secretary Alan Johnson was the most popular choice to replace Gordon Brown (13.31%) closely followed by David Miliband (10.22%).

However, Labour’s share of the vote would increase from 13.21% to 16.06% if the Prime Minister was replaced as leader.

Sky News panellists are not keen on the idea of a coalition government.  Almost 32% would not welcome one with a fifth (20.97%) saying they would support a coalition of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Sky News is breaking new ground for the European elections with what is believed to be the world’s first truly bi-media interactive graphic.

Sky News’ Martin Stanford will be using newly developed touch screen graphics on a giant HD screen in Sky’s West London studio to show TV viewers how the British vote is being represented across the UK, whilst the same graphic will be available to visitors to skynews.com online.

The application was built in Flash by Sky News’ interactive developers, and the tool will give web users access to results at exactly the same time as presenter Martin Stanford receives them live on his screen.

Using the giant HD screen in the Sky News studio, Martin will dissect the UK vote by region, councils and candidates, as well as by number of seats gained and lost. And web users visiting skynews.com will similarly be able to dissect this information themselves, controlling how the graphics show the data and make their own analysis of the European election as the results come in.

Executive Producer of Skynews.com Julian March said: “This is convergence the likes of which we have never seen before. 

Skynews.com’s visitors get the same great story-telling device as Sky News presenters and can choose to concentrate on the results in their specific region of the country, or those areas where they think the biggest gains might be made and lost, as well as benefitting from Sky News’ expert analysis through its news stories and blogs online.”

‘Decision Time Europe’ starts on Sunday night at 20.00 and will be anchored by Sky’s Political Editor Adam Boulton.

Five News has teamed up with the United Nation’s children’s agency UNICEF to give four British teenagers the chance to travel to the G8 Summit in Italy this July and have their say on world issues.

The team of four, who will form part of the J8 (Junior 8) along with representatives from the other G8 countries, will speak for the youth of the world on issues such as poverty, the environment or whatever concerns them – which they will then present to the G8 leaders.

The winners are from Croydon in Surrey and were chosen after a demanding selection process by UNICEF, Five News and a panel of experts.

The judges decided 16 year-olds Birzi Saleh, Mellika Myers, Sara Saleh and 15 year old Harry Phinda all from Haling Manor High School were the outstanding candidates saying that “their passion and enthusiasm to get involved and their ideas on world affairs made them stand out.”

The group decided to enter the UNICEF competition after Sara spotted a feature about the J8 on Five News.

The Prime Minister said: “I want to meet the four from Haling Manor High School who’ve done so well.  I want to meet them in Italy at the G8 and I want to discuss with them some of their great ideas about the environment, about climate change, about development, about the future.  And I think the G8 has got to listen to the young voices.”

Five News Political Editor Andy Bell was present at the selection day.  He said of the four: “They struck me instantly as bright and engaging. There was tough competition from nine other short-listed teams, but eventually they got the nod. To say they were thrilled would be an understatement. Sara Saleh had seen the J8 promoted on Five News and the next day she had gone into school and told her friends they had to enter. The judges said they won because they brought a very personal and passionate tone to their presentations about poverty and the responsibilities of the rich world.”

The four will now work with UNICEF to prepare themselves for the unforgettable trip to Italy where they will meet the junior delegates from each of the G8 countries.  As part of the process they are due to go on a field trip to a developing country to see first-hand some of the problems that they have already discussed so eloquently during the selection process.

Sara said: “We’ve got different backgrounds and different beliefs, but we all share the same passion and drive just to make the world a better place.”

Mellika said: “Right now the global crisis is a major issue and we don’t want the poorer countries to be affected.  We are affected badly, but imagine how they are affected.  You’ve got to look at the bigger picture.”

Following exhaustive testing, Sky News’ digital outdoor news service is now available to Manchester’s commuters, residents and shoppers through City Gateway’s iconic city centre Manchester Tower screen.

This is estimated to be the largest outdoor news delivery platform in the UK and probably the biggest in skyscraper format globally.

Sky News will air 30 second bulletins at four minute intervals, plus three regularly updated top story bulletins per hour, covering national and international news stories, alongside business, showbiz and sport content.

Sponsorships opportunities on the business, showbiz and sports segments, to be marketed by City Gateway in conjunction with Sky Media’s Commercial Development and 3Sixty team, are available to clients on a quarterly, 6 monthly and annual basis to brands wishing to engage directly with a daily audience of over 200,000. 

Conversations are underway with potential sponsors across several key sectors.

City Gateway’s Manchester Tower screen has been active since January 2007. It has recently broadcast campaigns for national brands as diverse as Cadbury, British Gas, Toyota, Nike, Lurpak, and Monarch Airlines, as well as local companies such as Trafford Centre, Liverpool Airport, Greater Manchester Police and The Manchester International Festival.

City Gateway also represents an outdoor digital screen at Canary Wharf in London’s Docklands

Ian Bohn, sales & marketing director of City Gateway Media said, “We’re delighted to bring Sky News to the Manchester public and the associated sponsorships to brands wanting to engage with our audience. Research demonstrates the public demands more from digital than basic ad loops and the association with Sky ensures a stream of regularly updated and engaging content.”

Graham Appleby Director of Commercial Partnerships at Sky Media, comments: “Sky News is already a pioneering multi-platform news provider on TV, online, via mobile, interactive TV, digital outdoor and Sky News radio.  Our partnership with City Gateway further extends the reach of Sky News, helping us ensure we are able to serve the demands of our viewers for award-winning breaking news no matter where they are.   We look forward to working with innovative brands who recognise this unique sponsorship opportunity in Manchester”

Sky News has announced that for the first time it will broadcast in High Definition for the inauguration of Barack Obama on 20 January 2009.

The swearing-in of the 44th President of the United States will be witnessed by millions in Washington DC and many more around the globe on TV – and Sky News viewers, for the first time, will be able to watch the event in HD on Sky Arts HD channel 258. Sky Arts will also simulcast the event across Sky Arts 1 and Sky Arts 2.

Viewers without HD capability on their TV sets will be able to enjoy the event as normal on Sky News, channel 501, but for those who want to watch HD quality pictures, alongside Sky News’ award-winning journalism, Sky News programming will be on Sky Arts HD from 5pm GMT, screening both the inauguration ceremony and the parade that follows.

As part of the programming on 20 January, Sky Arts HD will show Democracy: The Making Of An American Opera, going behind the scenes as Placido Domingo and the Washington Opera attempt to stage a new opera about 19th Century US politics. More details available at skyarts.co.uk/president

Sky News’ live coverage from Washington, simultaneously broadcast in HD and SD, will be presented by Jeremy Thompson and Political Editor, Adam Boulton, who starts a special assignment in the US to cover the first 100 days of Barack Obama’s Presidency in January.

Head of News, John Ryley said: “Barack Obama will begin his Presidency by spelling out his vision for America.. Sky News has a well-deserved reputation for world-class journalism and pioneering the use of technology. At Sky News we always aim to offer viewers and online users the best possible coverage of the big events and we are very much looking forward to being able to broadcast in HD for the first time, on this most momentous day.”

Sky News’ coverage of the inauguration will largely come from Washington, with Adam Boulton and Jeremy Thompson anchoring presentation of the proceedings, working closely with Sky News’ two US correspondents, Michelle Clifford and Robert Nisbet. Its inauguration week coverage begins on 18 January with Sunday Live with Adam Boulton from the US and marks Martin Luther King Day on 19 January.

Speaking about his special 100 day stateside assignment, Adam Boulton said: “Barack Obama’s election is already historic and his Presidency will mark one of the great periods of change of our time. I’m really looking forward to this chance to take a ‘busman’s holiday’ from Westminster and cover developments in the US along with our award-winning foreign affairs team.”

Sky News’ experienced team of political correspondents – Jon Craig, Glen Oglaza, Joey Jones, Niall Paterson and Peter Spencer, under the direction of Executive Producer Jonathan Levy – will share responsibility for Adam’s UK based duties while he is away.

Recorded coverage of the Inauguration will be available on Sky News Active and HD subscribers will also be able to view coverage on Sky’s Anytime TV.

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