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Introducing Beyond the Bombings

03/07/2015 10:18 BST | Updated 02/07/2016 10:59 BST

77 bombings

Ten years on and it still goes down as a rollercoaster of a week in my working life. I can recall waking up in my Clapham flat on 7 July 2005 feeling really proud, and then feeling really annoyed.

On 6 July we'd produced a remarkable edition of Metro, the world's biggest free newspaper where I then worked. It was the day IOC president Jaques Rogge announced London had won the bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. In our little office people actually cheered and clapped. Sales staff and editorial staff joined in a moment of collective happiness. That doesn't happen in newsrooms. That was the proud part.

I was annoyed for the most trivial of reasons, which any Londoner will appreciate. That morning the radio travel news said there had been an electricity surge on the Tube and so there were delays. Bloody delays. I made the unremarkable journey to the office, grabbing a copy of Metro at Waterloo before getting the Jubilee line to Surrey Quays, where our office was then based. I was pleased because I hadn't been delayed.

But it wasn't long after I'd bathed in the glory of our Olympic edition at my desk and finished my scrambled eggs - I don't know why I remember I had scrambled eggs that morning - that things started happening. At first, there were TV reports of cars and buses exploding. Not just the odd explosion, but multiple ones, all over London. I've a confession to make which haunts me to this day. I laughed them off. I rubbished them. I'm still mocked by former colleagues for it. The truth was I'd refused to believe that what was happening could possibly be true. London couldn't be attacked, not today. Not on Olympic victory day.

One rolling news channel reported that a man was running through central London with a bomb strapped to his back with wires poking out of his rucksack. They were wrong, but so was I. Over the coming hours it became abundantly clear that a most horrible event had taken place.

I tried to call my parents on my mobile but couldn't get through as the signal was down so I used the land line on my desk. They didn't seem that bothered because I'd been so early with the news that it hadn't reached Hampshire yet.

Trying to tell a story on the scale of 7/7 in the time we had was almost impossible. Our work for the next day's edition needed to be finished by about 8pm, so it could be designed on a page and ready for the printers at 10pm.

Yes the lasting memory of that day is just how long everything seemed to take. One of the biggest enemies of a news desk journalist is time. You never have enough. But on 7/7 I felt like time stopped. There was so much confused information to wade through that by noon I honestly thought I'd worked for an entire day.

Today, with social media and super-duper expensive smartphones, spreading the word (and pictures, and video) is a doddle. It wasn't that easy in 2005, but it was possible. We started to get emails from readers with pictures attached of them inside Tube stations. The images were low quality, but told strong stories, and we used them extensively. We didn't really have a place to show the videos. 2005 was a very different place to 2015. It was still eight months before Twitter even launched.

Then the agencies started to file their high-quality images, the ones we all remember of the chaos above ground. Some of these came to define 7/7. I remember on 8 July being fascinated how different news desks had dealt with the same flow of rapid information I'd seen 24 hours earlier. How different organisations interpret the news still boggles my mind to this day.

That evening, after the paper had been put to bed - that's a newspaper term for finishing the product - we struggled to find a taxi to take us home. All the Tubes were closed. Finally about five of us squeezed into a cab which then dropped us off individually at various parts of south London. There was no Dunkirk spirit, no beers, no hashtag, no defying the terrorists as far as I can recall. We went home shattered and shocked and for days to follow we stayed that way.

In the age of social media I suspect London would react very differently. I can't tell you how much I hope we never have to test that out.

Today The Huffington Post UK launches the third in our series of 'Beyond' projects - Beyond the Bombings. Previous to this we've run Beyond Belief and Beyond the Ballot. Each of these series were designed to take a longer form, insightful look at some pretty meaty issues digital media is often accused of ignoring.

With Beyond the Bombings we've been deliberate to use our What's Working approach to news to focus on constructive, solution-led journalism. We will be publishing an interview with 7/7 survivor Gill Hicks who lost her legs and became a motivational speaker and anti-extremism campaigner.

We'll have a blog from Esther Hyman, whose sister died in the attacks and who is raising money for an online anti-extremism course. We've also written a profile of Paul Dadge, the 'reluctant hero' who helped a woman with the white face mask in a famous picture.

The London bombings touched people from across Britain, including our own news editor Jacqueline Housden who was on one of the tube trains which was attacked and is returning to work at HuffPost UK after giving birth to her first child.

These are all remarkable stories which highlight the ability of wounds, no matter how deep, to heal. I hope you enjoy our series and feel compelled to blog about your thoughts on the 7/7 attacks 10 years on. If you do, here's how you can get involved.

How was Britain impacted by the 7/7 bombings? Join the @HuffPostUK conversation on Twitter with #BeyondTheBombings