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Volcano fails to stop stranded journalists working

Two dedicated weekly newspaper reporters are not letting the travel chaos of the past week affect their duties.

Elizabeth Pears and Rebecca Lowe, from the Times and Independent Series in North London, are both still stranded in their respective holiday destinations as a result of the volcanic ash cloud which, until yesterday, closed UK airspace.

Undeterred, Elizabeth is continuing to file stories and update the website of the Haringey Independent from Frankfurt where she is holidaying with her sister.

Meanwhile, Enfield Independent reporter Rebecca is stuck in California and is using the side of a swimming pool as a makeshift office.

Yesterday we reported the troubles suffered by Paul Robertson, editor of Newcastle daily the Evening Chronicle, who has been stranded in Majorca, and Birmingham Mail content editor Mike Macklin, who took three days to travel home from Italy.

Elizabeth said: “What started as a mini city-break has resulted in what feels like a banishment of sorts from good old Blighty.

“It is amazing how despite being just an hour’s flight away, the same journey by land and sea seems virtually impossible.

“Eurostar is fully booked, buses and trains are jam-packed, and at every major European port thousands of people are waiting in vain for a ferry home.

“Although, I’m enjoying being part of one of Europe’s biggest news stories, I’m ready to come home and the uncertainty of not knowing what is going to happen is my biggest worry.”

Elizabeth is due to catch a flight back to the UK today while Rebecca is hoping to return on Tuesday.

Assistant editor Tim Jones said: “At the Times and Independent Series we have been busy covering the impact of the flight restrictions since last Thursday. Little did we know that our own reporters would become caught up in it.

“Our reporters are well used to working out of the office from their patches, armed only with a laptop and mobile, and uploading stories to our websites. This is admittedly taking things to a whole new extreme.

“But full marks to Elizabeth and Rebecca for resourcefulness and being prepared to go the extra mile for the sake of our newspapers. Then again, I wouldn’t expect anything less of our reporters.”


Dozens of staff from local press publisher Archant have also been left stranded in various parts of the world including Florida, Singapore and across Europe.

  • Archant Norfolk photographer Denise Bradley is in Venice where she is spending a holiday with her husband.

    They have travel insurance but the couple was told by the insurers they were not covered because it was “a peril they don’t insure for”.

    “Everywhere in Venice are groups of Brits looking really worried,” she said.

    “People are running out of money because they’ve not budgeted on being here for so long. We’ll be eating in Burger King between now and Monday.”

  • Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News education correspondent Steve Downes is stranded with his family in Florida.

    He said: “We arrived at Miami International Airport expecting to fly home. We were told that the first available flight home would go from Miami to Detroit, then to Amsterdam, then Heathrow, at 8am on 24 April, so our two-week holiday is going to be at least three weeks.

    “There are no hotel rooms available in Miami but fortunately we have good friends in Naples (city west of Miami) who chartered a minibus from their local church to pick us up. We are a bit travel-weary and fed up but we are in a much better predicament than most other people here who do not have a hotel or friends to stay with.”

  • Have you or a colleague been affected by the Icelandic volcano erupting? Please tell us by emailing editor.htfp@and.co.uk.
  • Comments

    Dan (22/04/2010 10:09:45)
    I’m stranded in a very desolate place with no way I can possibly get into work at the moment. I’m a NCTJ qualified trainee looking for a job!

    Jerry (22/04/2010 10:24:30)
    I am also stranded in a desolate place with only few living souls left – I’m in a regional press newsroom trying to get out!

    Ajinexile (22/04/2010 11:05:22)
    Elizabeth and Rebecca are only doing what reporters are trained to do — reporting. It would only be a story if they had decided to order another pina colada and wait for a Gordon Brown bus or battleship to turn up at the hotel door.

    Fencehopper (22/04/2010 12:23:42)
    People stranded on holiday use phone and computer. Hold the front page indeed.

    Sly dig (22/04/2010 13:07:57)
    Since when has being stuck across the other side of the world prevented a reporter (advertising support staff) from doing their job. They can still receive emails so they can recycle press releases to fill the space between the important revenue providing content.

    Just curious (22/04/2010 13:12:47)
    There seems to be a lot of animosity towards this story….most reporters I know would sit back in their chair, stick two fingers up to their bosses and shrug “Not my problem, pal”. Credit to the two girls in this piece, I say!!

    Charlie (22/04/2010 15:03:29)
    Question – how many of those complaining that this is a non-story have had something in their paper this week about local people stranded by the volcano, thriving in adversity etc? How is this different?