Television journalist Norma Percy is this year’s winner of the James Cameron Memorial Award.
Percy has, with Brian Lapping, produced some of the finest television documentaries about international politics over the past 25 years.
They have included the six-part The Death of Yugoslavia in 1995 for BBC Two. They have also been responsible for The Second Russian Revolution (1991); Watergate (1994); The 50 Years War: Israel and the Arabs (1998); Playing the China Card (1999); and Endgame in Ireland (2001).
A special Cameron award was also made at the ceremony, held at City University, to former Labour Party leader Michael Foot for his contribution to journalism. Foot was editor of the Evening Standard for two years from 1942. He went on to combine politics and journalism as managing director of Tribune, a political columnist for the Daily Herald and as a regular book reviewer for the Standard.
Professor Hugh Stephenson elegantly got around the no-show by Matthew Parris of The Times who was to give the annual James Cameron lecture on the subject of failure.
“I don’t need to introduce the next speaker because he’s not here,” he told a packed lecture hall. “He was to give his thoughts about failure but he has failed.”
As for Parris, he had cancelled at the last moment and made his point of departure Heathrow after getting an assignment to cover Concorde’s final flight to New York.
By Jon Slattery