Alex Crawford is RTS journalist of year for 4th time

Sky News special correspondent Alex Crawford was named RTS journalist of the year for an unprecedented fourth time last night in recognition of her reports from the heart of the Arab Spring uprisings.

In the award citation the judges said: ‘The judges recognised the extraordinary achievement of not only Alex Crawford but also her team in getting unique access to the frontline in Libya – in particular capturing the first proof that Ghaddafi was attacking his own people. It was brave, vivid conflict reporting of the highest order: compelling viewing on a story of major importance.”

Al Jazeera English was named news channel of the year for the first time, again in recognition of its coverage of the Arab Spring and Libya in particular.

The judges said: ‘In a year that was dominated by the Arab Spring, this channel established itself as essential viewing for insight and understanding of the evolving story. In an assessment that acknowledged an impressive range of news coverage from around the world, the jury described this year as the `breakthrough moment’ for Al Jazeera English.”

Full list of the winners for the 2012 RTS Awards:

Young Journalist of the Year

Joe Casey, BBC Panorama, BBC Current Affairs for BBC One

‘Our winner played a central and highly sensitive role in a shocking investigation which exposed callous neglect and humiliation of highly vulnerable inmates. This was fantastic work on one of the stories of the year. An outstanding winner from an outstanding programme.’

Nations and Regions News Programme

Calendar, ITV Yorkshire

‘The winning entry was a selection of varied and highly watchable items from an exclusive on the Crossbow Cannibal murderer to a trip down Gaping Gill.’

Nations and Regions Current Affairs and News Event

Insight: The Resurrection of Brendan Smyth, UTV Insight

‘This year’s winner drew on 20 years of investigation by one reporter, culminating in a programme that shed important new light on the cover-up of child abuse by Catholic clergy.’

News Coverage – Home

UK Riots, Sky News

‘In a year of big home news stories, the winning entry impressed the jury with its range and authority. Visually rich and featuring front line reporting that was brave, illuminating and captured some remarkable moments in a fast moving story with real ingenuity. It was, in the opinion of the jury, the stand-out entry – a top quality example of rolling news coverage.’

Current Affairs – Home

Panorama: Undercover Care, BBC Current Affairs for BBC One

‘A truly outstanding documentary that exemplified public interest journalism and told a shocking and moving story through a measured and compelling narrative. This was a brave undercover investigation into the treatment of the most vulnerable in our society – and it lead to significant changes in the way they are treated.”

Current Affairs – International

Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields, ITN for Channel 4

‘This meticulous investigative documentary was judged as a truly outstanding exemplar. The producers had the difficult task of collating and analysing hours of raw footage often shot on mobile phones or on small domestic cameras. They took a forensic approach to this material, and were able to piece together a unique, disturbing and convincing account of what was supposed to be a war carried out well away from public view.’

News Coverage – International

Libya, Sky News

‘At the heart of the winning entry was a series of reports that called for extraordinary bravery, endurance and outstanding judgment, not to mention some brilliant achievements in just getting to the right places at the crucial moment. The judges praised the powerful journalism by a team of correspondents, camera crews and producers, reporting from the front line of a brutal civil war.”

Scoop of the Year

Panorama: Undercover Care, BBC Current Affairs for BBC One

‘In a year when television again produced investigative journalism which is truly in the public interest, the Scoop of the Year revealed uncomfortable truths and helped to change things for the better.’

Innovative News

The Stream: Bahrain, Al Jazeera English

‘The winning entry was a genuine innovation in the presentation of television journalism. An excellent example of how to conduct an interactive conversation that kept the viewers attention with pace and ambition.’

The Independent Award

Somali Olympic Dreams – Jamal Osman for ITN/Channel 4 News

‘The winning film showed in a unique way the power of human desire to succeed in any circumstances. It was a remarkable project which was heart-warming, uplifting and heartbreaking by turn. An admirable venture to tell a story about brave and indomitable athletes.’

Camera Operator of the Year

Stuart Webb, Channel 4 News, ITN for Channel 4 News

‘Brilliantly shot, the images were full of detail and very measured. The winner’s work showed real sensitivity – he got close without being intrusive and the camera said everything!’

News Programme of the Year

Newsnight, BBC Two

‘The judges felt the winner stood out as the main forum for the live studio encounters of the year. Together with some edgy exposés and analysis from first-rate specialists, it made them the ‘must-watch’news programme.’

News Channel of the Year

Al Jazeera English

‘In a year that was dominated by the Arab Spring, this channel established itself as essential viewing for insight and understanding of the evolving story. In an assessment that acknowledged an impressive range of news coverage from around the world, the jury described this year as the `breakthrough moment’ for Al Jazeera English.”

Specialist Journalist of the Year

Paul Mason, Newsnight, BBC Two

‘Night after night he has provided compelling coverage of one of the biggest stories of the year: the economic crisis and the meltdown in the Eurozone. On the road and in the studio he has combined brilliant reportage with thoughtful and original analysis. With his knack for getting to the heart of the story and his ability to explain and illustrate a very complex world, Paul Mason is an outstanding winner.’

Television Journalist of the Year

Alex Crawford, Sky News

‘The judges recognised the extraordinary achievement of not only Alex Crawford but also her team in getting unique access to the frontline in Libya – in particular capturing the first proof that Ghaddafi was attacking his own people. It was brave, vivid conflict reporting of the highest order: compelling viewing on a story of major importance.’

Presenter of the Year

Anna Botting, Sky News

‘Presenting from across the world and in the studio, the winner impressed the judges with powerful journalism, natural authority and a genuine understanding of how the big stories affect people’s lives.’

Judges’ Award

NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)

‘On Friday 11 March, a huge earthquake hit Japan, measuring a massive 9 on the Richter scale. Within minutes, NHK had begun to stream live pictures as their teams scrambled to provide eyewitness reports on the quake and to alert Japanese citizens and other countries on the Pacific Rim to the expected tsunami. Then, with the help of their 14 helicopters and 70 satellite trucks, NHK provided extraordinary live coverage of the enormous tsunami wave as it came ashore, engulfing everything – fields, farms, ports and whole villages and towns – all along Japan’s north east coast.

“NHK practices its earthquake contingency measures every day. But even with all this preparation, it must have been very challenging, to provide such comprehensive coverage for so many hours, at so many different locations, during such a massive disaster.

“Broadcasters in the UK and around the world took these dramatic pictures from NHK. It was the first time that we had been able to broadcast pictures of the full power of a tsunami from the air and live as it happened.’

Lifetime Achievement

Sir David Nicholas CBE

‘This year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award spent a lifetime in TV journalism – a sub, a producer, and ultimately an editor in chief, chief executive and chairman.

“He was a story teller, first and foremost; but, in short-order, became a true leader of men and women.

He got printer’s ink under his finger nails many years ago, but it was the world of TV journalism that captured his heart and he, in return, captured its commanding heights.

“He changed the face of TV journalism – invented programmes, seized time at the heart of the network schedule, and created a news brand that had a resonance of respect and affection for decades, and is still with us today.

“As one of the industry’s true innovators, he did so much more than stamp his authority on what was already being done. He found fresh ways of doing things, personalising story-telling and mastering the evolving technologies to help him and his people tell those stories.

“Professionally, he was at his happiest in the newsroom – wrestling with stories and lead-ins – or in the control-room for special programmes, calling the shots, mastering the narrative of budgets, elections… even moon-shots.

“Other giants of our industry, deferred to him – as their leader, their mentor and their friend. His pioneering influence has probably touched every person in this room. He is Welsh and that lilt in his voice spoke to a passion for language, for understanding and for truth – in short, for good journalism.’

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