Sky News has defended reporter Kay Burley after she was heavily attacked through social media for breaking the news that the search for missing child April Jones has become a murder inquiry to two members of the search party, one of whom was reported to be the girl’s godmother.
The broadcaster has been deluged with complaints about the live report and the manner in which Burley broke the news to the pair, which saw the journalist trending on Twitter as a result, with many calling for her to be fired, leaving the two ladies in tears.
A statement from a Sky News spokesperson claimed that the reaction had been taken out of context, and attempted to explain how events unfolded; “At around 10.30 today, Dyfed Powys Police announced that the search for April was now a murder inquiry. Several minutes later, Kay Burley spoke live to a volunteer believing she was aware of the latest developments. As she spoke she was joined by a second volunteer.
“It is clear from the full clip that Kay did not start the interview with the intention of breaking the sad development to them.
“However, as the interview unfolded, she found herself having to explain the developments and she sought to deal with it as sensitively as possible whilst continuing to offer some comfort to the interviewees.
“Everyone at Sky News has the greatest sympathy for all those affected by this tragic story and we will continue work with the police and local community to keep people informed,” they added.
Sky News has also provided The Drum with a transcript of the interview between Burley and the two ladies (see below) – one named Donna and the other ‘Family Friend’ and a video (see top) in an attempt to clear up the situation.
Kay Burley – If you could stand by a second please Martin, I want to chat to Donna who we were chatting to a little while ago. Hiya, you have heard the news?
Donna – Yes, he has just said (starts to cry), I am sorry.
Family Friend – What’s happened, I haven’t heard?
Kay Burley – OK, I didn’t know that you hadn’t heard
Family Friend – We have been out, we have been ribboning
Kay Burley – Ok, let me just tell you what we heard from the police, is that it has now become a murder investigation, and they have spoken to the family and they don’t expect to find her alive. I am sorry to have to tell you in circumstances like this. Would you like to say anything or would you like to..
Donna – They are wrong..
Family Friend – If they haven’t found her there is a chance, where there is hope there is a chance. There is always a chance, we haven’t found her yet. Until we find her… she will be alright, we will find her
Donna – The police have been wrong before and hopefully this will be one of those times.
Family Friend – There is no bother, we will find her, she will be alive. She will be alright
Kay Burley – What do you think will happen now?
Family Friend – We will keep looking, we will find her. Until we bring her home to her mum and dad we will keep looking
Donna – We will keep searching day and night until we find her
Family Friend – There is no option but find her.
Kay Burley – How are you feeling?
Family Friend – Numb, just numb.
Kay Burley – I am going to let you compose yourselves, if you want to talk to us again later, we are here but I will let you get on.
Donna – Have you got your pink ribbon?
Kay Burley – Yes I have yes, look after yourselves
Donna – Keep hope alive, until we are told otherwise just keep hope alive.
Kay Burley – OK, Mark White is at the search site on the river for us this morning. You saw the reaction there from local people who have been hoping against hope. Despair was starting to set in but they are still hopeful that they will find this little girl alive, it does look from what we are hearing from the police that that is now incredibly unlikely, though a body has not been found as yet.