ITV News has notched up a notable double triumph in this year's prestigious British Journalism Awards for its riveting coverage of the savage and startling storming of the US Capitol in Washington by rioters on 6 January this year.
ITV's Washington correspondent Robert Moore has been named Journalist of the Year and an ITV News team comprising Robert, his producer Sophie Alexander and camera operator Mark Davey, won the Foreign Affairs category.
This double success has added to an ultra-impressive run of top awards garnered by ITV News this year for its coverage of the shocking scenes that day on Capitol Hill – beating off strong competition from other national and international broadcasters. Its quick turnaround documentary – Storming The Capitol: The Inside Story
– won the the Golden Rose in the Rose D'Or Awards inaugural News and Current Affairs category. And in the Foreign Press Association Media Awards, Robert was again voted Journalist of the Year and the ITV team won the TV News Story of the Year category.
The ITV team's further successes included topping the Single News Report category at the Association for International Broadcasting Awards for journalism and factual productions, as well as the international Golden Nymph Awards in which Moore's report triumphed in the News category. Sophie Alexander has won the media category of the Women of the Future Awards, and Mark Davey has been recognised for his astonishing pictures – winning the competitive Photography in Documentary/Factual award at the Royal Television Society Craft Awards.
It was also a pretty memorable evening for The Guardian
at the British Journalism Awards ceremony at the London Hilton Bankside on 8 December. The daily, which acknowledges it has left-wing views, was voted News Provider of The Year, and shared the most awards won total – four – with ITV News by coming tops in the Arts and Entertainment and Technology categories, while Marina Hyde was voted best Columnist for the third year running.
lifted the Scoop of the Year award for its revelation of Matt Hancock's COVID-19 office affair that led to his resignation as the UK Government's Health Secretary. And the Daily Mail's Betrayal of the Brave
exposé earned it the Campaign of the Year award for highlighting the plight of former translators for British forces in Afghanistan. The campaign was highly praised by the judges who highlighted that it had exposed injustice; provided a voice to victims; and held the UK Government to account.
The British Journalism Awards, now in its 10th year, is run by Press Gazette
. The winners in the 29 categories at stake this year were chosen by 70 independent judges who considered 840 submissions from every major news organisation in the UK, with three criteria in mind – revelation, journalistic rigour and public interest.
Press Gazette's editor-in-chief, Dominic Ponsford, said that the calibre of this year's award winners reveal that probing public interest journalism is in ruddy health. Dominic pointed out: 'Crooked public figures of all types sleep a little less easily in their beds thanks to the efforts of you all. It has been a year where government corruption, incompetence and hypocrisy has rarely been out of the headlines as journalists have battled obfuscation and cover-up to tell Britain what is really going on at the top'.
Broadcaster Jeremy Vine, who presented the awards, commented: 'What an amazing night. You suddenly realise everyone was here, and, despite COVID-19, journalism has carried on and it's better than ever; it's more important than ever; and more exciting than ever as a career, and I am proud to be in it'.
On Robert Moore's award as Journalist of the Year for his spectacular reports from inside the US Capitol, the judges observed: 'Journalism is often a case of being in the right place at the right time. But if you work hard enough and long enough some journalists find themselves in the right place more than others. Robert Moore achieved astounding access to produce impeccable journalism – measured, balanced, calm, courageous and informed. The writing of their pieces is beautiful too – sparse, elegant and to the point'.
On the ITV News Foreign Affairs award, the judges said its team had '... provided a real-time, eye-witness account of one of the most disturbing days in modern democracy. This was TV reportage at its finest: raw, revealing and honest'.
Poignantly, former ITV News editor Geoff Hill, who died in September, four years after being diagnosed with leukaemia, was recognised with the annual Public Service Award – sponsored by the Journalists' Charity.
The sheer quality of journalism produced during 2021 by British broadcasters – winning 10 of the 29 categories – was further underlined by Alex Crawford, of Sky News, receiving the inaugural Woman of the Year prize – sponsored by the Women in Journalism collective. The judges praised the 'persistence, bravery and vividness' of Crawford's reportage, explaining: 'From uncovering a war crime in one of the most remote parts of Yemen, to braving active frontlines in Afghanistan to meet the Taliban and showing the world the reality of the forest fires in Turkey, her work has been inspirational'.
Afghan women's media organisation, Rukhshana Media, was recognised with the Marie Colvin Award for the courageous way they banded together to provide different perspectives of male-dominated Afghanistan in the face of death threats and intimidation.
The fiercely-contested Sports category was won by broadcaster Al Jazeera
for its investigation into the machinations of the English professional soccer scene – The Men Who Sell Football
. Interestingly, Al Jazeera
is a Qatari Government-funded international Arabic news channel based in Doha – and Qatar will host next year's soccer World Cup. The judges were much impressed by the investigative documentary, declaring: 'This was amazing video journalism which revealed the sinister people behind the buying and selling of English football clubs. The sting was brilliant, shocking and ground-breaking'.
Scoop of the Year, exposing Matt Hancock’s indiscretions, had the judges enthusiastically (and with an element of deja vu), commenting: 'What's not to like about a scoop that still sends shudders down the spine months later. One can never unsee this. The we're all in this together
argument destroyed once and for all. And how!'
Focusing on The Guardian's
four awards, the judges observed: 'The Guardian
has marked its 200th anniversary in style this year. Its Pegasus Project investigation exposed governments using technology to spy on journalists, politicians and campaigners. Its Noel Clarke investigation gave a voice to ignored victims and secured lasting change to the TV industry. The Guardian's
podcasts and innovative digital story telling have reached record audiences. And it has all been underpinned by a pioneering business model which has made it the biggest member-funded newsroom in the world'.
And on The Guardian's
Columnist of the Year success,ght offensive, Marina Hyde skewers her targets with a fluent savagery'.
Digressing for a moment, I would urge you to sample Hyde's 'fluent savagery' in a recent column where she trashes sections of the British media for criticising the BBC, and specifically its media editor, Amol Rajan, following his documentary on Princes William and Harry, in which it was claimed their households briefed against each other.
In my 50 years-plus as an observer, watcher and chronicler on the mores of our media, I don't think I have ever come across such a vitriolic and vituperative attack on the UK media by one of its own. Take her intro, for example: 'A truly vintage week for hypocrisy in an industry I simple cannot take seriously: the newspaper industry. My industry. As longtime observers of so-called Fleet Street will be aware, living down to expectations is a constant burden. But it is a tribute to the business that said burden is shouldered daily by any number of lavishly shameless individuals, across all titles, without exception'.
Later, she claims she shuns the London media party circuit and points out how instead she much enjoyed Rajan's book on spin bowlers '... a much better way of spending an evening than having champagne misted halitotically over you by a parade of dickheads who imagine that their work is hugely significant'.
However, please judge for yourself. You can access Hyde's column on Bill Heaney's online news site: www.democratonline.net
or her own paper on: www.theguardian.com/uk
Returning to the British Journalism Awards scene, it is gratifying to learn that Press Gazette has secured some substantial backing to help stage what is a very costly annual operation. The running of this year's event was supported by headline sponsor Starling Bank as well as Audi, Camelot, Creative Diversity Network, Gilead, Glide Publishing Platform, Google News Initiative, Iconic Images, Infosys, Newsworks, OVO Energy and Pertemps. Women in Journalism and the Journalists' Charity are awards partners.
Comprehensive coverage of this year's awards ceremony can be accessed on: www.pressgazette.co.uk
The leading award winners include:
Journalist of the Year
Winner: Robert Moore, ITV News
Scoop of the Year
Winner: The Sun
– Hancock's affair with aide
Campaign of the Year
Winner: Daily Mail
– Betrayal of the Brave
News Provider of the Year
Winner: Guardian News and Media
Investigation of the Year
Winner: Financial Times
– Greenshill Capital
Winner: Robert Moore, Sophie Alexander and Mark Davey, ITV News
– Storming The Capitol: The Inside Story
Arts and Entertainment
Winner: Sirin Kale and Lucy Osborne, The Guardian
Business, Finance and Economics
Winner: Mark Kleinman, Sky News
Winner: Jim Pickard, Cynthia O'Murchu, Robert Smith and Arash Massoudi, Financial Times
Innovation of the Year
Winner: Sophia Smith Galer, BBC/Vice World News
Winner: Marina Hyde, The Guardian
Winner: Hannah McKay, Reuters New
New Journalist of the Year
Winner: Nimo Omer, Tortoise
Winner: Cara McGoogan, Sarah Peters and Theodora Louloudis, Daily Telegraph
Health and Life Sciences
Winner: Dave West,
Health Service Journal
Winner: Al Jazeera Investigations
– The men who sell football
Interviewer of the Year
Winner: Emma Barnett, BBC Radio 4
Social Affairs, Diversity and Inclusion
Winner: David DeHaney, Rochelle Humes and Lyttanya Shannon, Channel 4 Dispatches
Energy and Environment
Winner: John Ingham, Daily Express
Winner: Gabriel Pogrund and John Collingridge, The Sunday Times
Public Service Journalism – supported by the Journalists' Charity
Winner: the late Geoff Hill, ITV News
Marie Colvin Award
Winner: Rukhshana Media
Woman of the Year – in association with Women in Journalism
Winner: Alex Crawford, Sky News
Georgina Henry Prize – in association with Women in Journalism
Winner: Rachel Charlton Dailey, The Unwritten
Dundee-headquartered DC Thomson (DCT), one of the UK's leading publishing groups, has appointed Rebecca Miskin as the first-ever chief executive officer in its 116-year history. Miskin, who joined DCT as chief strategy and transformation officer in the summer of 2020, is charged with overseeing the group's entire media portfolio which includes The Press and Journal
(P&J) and The Courier
A DCT spokesperson told Scottish Review
: 'Rebecca will be overseeing the company's entire media operation – bringing together brands including Beano Studios, Stylist and Puzzler for the first time, as well as communities in energy, local and national news, teaching, crafts, sport and radio'.
Miskin, who retains her group strategy role, has a strong track record of leading digital transformation at major media companies, having previously been digital strategy director at Hearst, general manager at NBC Universal and commercial director at Time Inc.
On her new role as CEO, Miskin explains: 'DC Thomson was founded on creativity and entrepreneurialism. As the company transforms to prepare itself for the future, it is my mission to nurture that spirit. Throughout DC Thomson's history, its ability to continually recognise the wants and needs of audiences has created successful brands that have grown and evolved. Now more than ever, readers, listeners and viewers want to feel a togetherness that comes from shared experiences. To survive and grow, we have to do more than just attract customers – we need to create loyal and long-lasting communities and we will achieve that by investing in technology, data and talent'.
DC Thomson's chairman, Christopher Thomson, commented: 'Rebecca's appointment as CEO is a crucial part of our transformation strategy which looks afresh at how we can inform, entertain and delight audiences now and in the future. She will be supported by an experienced leadership team drawn from across the group to create engaging content and experiences that truly connect with our audiences. As a board, we are investing in technology and talent to support this plan, which will make sure we have the right skills and experience across our media business to create the engine for growth'.
The festive period can be a time for reflection and heavy doses of nostalgia. And the nostalgia has hit me early after chancing online upon the John O'Groat Journal
weekly newspaper carrying a story and photographs on Thurso-born artist Willie Wallace's solo show of paintings at an exhibition in the newly refurbished North Coast Visitor Centre in his home town.
To my surprise and my delight, in one striking 3ft x 5ft triptych, Wallace, whom is influenced by the Scottish Colourists and Cubism, incorporates a copy of the Caithness Courier
weekly newspaper – the Groat's
So why the nostalgia? Well, back in 1965, fresh from completing a journalism degree at London's Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster), I took my first very tentative steps as a cub reporter on the Groat
and the Courier
, working out of the rambling office in Union Street, Wick, which housed both titles.
Fortuitously, (or in retrospect, maybe not), immediately across the street was the legendary Mackays Hotel run by hotelier, rally driver and socialite Donnie Lamont. It was a most hospitable howff where I probably spent far too much time socialising into the sma' hours, and certainly far too much money considering my meagre weekly stipend of around £7.
However, in my defence, the regular clientele, which included quite a few of Caithness's good and the great, frequently yielded cracking news stories. The Courier
had an office in Thurso and when the editor, which was the entire editorial staff, went on holiday, I would be despatched to Thurso to run the whole show. Heady days indeed for a still raw but ultra-keen hack.
So now I will procure a copy of Wallace's painting to constantly remind me of my earliest journalistic endeavours – although, mind you, the entertainment scene in Thurso and Wick were relatively douce hang outs for the 17-year-old Highland laddie whom had so readily and easily taken to the enticements and sheer excitement of Carnaby Street and The Marquee Club in London at the height of the Swinging Sixties.
Interestingly, searching Google, I came across this definition of these equally heady days: 'The Swinging Sixties in London was more than just The Beatles and people saying (in that Austin Powers' voice) groovy, baby
. Swinging London represented a change in attitude and art that brought England to the forefront of culture and fashion in the 20th century'.
Well, there you go. Who said nostalgia is a thing of the past?
John Davidson, content editor at the Caithness Courier
and John O'Groat Journal
, told me: 'It was a really good news story to see the North Coast Visitor Centre – formerly Caithness Horizons – open again in November with an exhibition of paintings from Willie Wallace on display. To have the Caithness Courier
featured in one of his fascinating artworks is a great pleasure. It is such a striking collection of images'.
A new £11.9m TV studio is being developed in Glasgow's Kelvin Hall with the aim of becoming the Scottish hub for shows for the BBC, ITV, Sky, Channel 4 and Netflix.
The Kelvin Hall Film and Broadcast Studio Hub will be operated by BBC Studioworks – a commercial arm of the BBC. Its chief executive Andrew Moultrie tells us that it will be a 'shiny floor studio'. This evidently means it will typically house light entertainment – including comedy shows, game shows and quizzes. It is hoped the complex will meet the growing demand for TV shows in Scotland and it is expected to boost local jobs and support the development of a skilled workforce – providing studios and post-production services to a range of broadcasters. Moultrie said that, although it would be created for a 'shiny floor environment', it would be versatile and could be used for other genres.
The studio is designed with audience consideration at its core, with Moultrie explaining: 'Audiences and locals will be able to get access to the tickets to come and actually see the shows themselves as well, so they'll be part of the experience, part of the shows'.
The project has received a £7.9m contribution from the Scottish Government and £4m from Glasgow City Council. The screen sector is estimated to be worth up to £500M to Scotland each year, with 60% of that spent in Glasgow. The city council hopes the new studio will attract big-budget entertainment and drama productions. Kelvin Hall has already been used for the forthcoming STV/Channel 4 drama Screws
, and BBC Studioworks is looking to use the 10,500 sq.ft. floor space for a variety of light entertainment programmes from autumn 2022.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, film and TV production in Scotland is at a record high, although official figures won't be published until the new year.
(HTFP) reports that award-winning editor Ken Symon has returned to journalism after working in public relations to take up the newly-created post of business and energy editor with Norwich-headquartered publisher Archant. Symon ran Reach plc-owned title Scottish Business Insider
between 2016 and July this year when he left to become associate director at Glasgow-based PR consultancy Hollicom.
Symon told HTFP: 'I am hugely excited to be joining Archant to lead the coverage of the energy sector which is such a vital one for the future of the economy of the east of England and the UK as a whole. It is great to be joining a newspaper publisher that is investing for the future'.
Symon is a former business editor of both The Scotsman
and the Sunday Herald
, and he also previously ran the Scottish news operation at The Sunday Times
. He won the UK Local Government Journalist of the Year award while at the Glasgow Evening Times
for an investigation into council tax.
The Journalists' Charity has lined up a stellar panel of media folk as guest readers at its annual carol service at St Bride's Church on Fleet Street, London, on Monday 20 December at 6.30pm – all are welcome. Taking part are Daily Mirror
editor Alison Phillips, City AM
editor Andy Silvester, BBC News presenter and foreign correspondent Clive Myrie, writer and broadcaster Ayesha Hazarika, of Times Radio, and John Witherow, of The Times
The Scottish Review
is now taking a festive break and this column will next appear on Wednesday 12 January. I trust that all my readers will have a very merry yet restful Christmas-time, and to all of you go my very best wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful 2022. Slainte!