Interview with Alan Johnston wins Nick Clarke award

BBC World Service presenter Carrie Gracie was crowned the first winner the Nick Clarke Award for her interview with BBC correspondent Alan Johnston following his kidnap in 2007.

The Nick Clarke Award was created to celebrate the best broadcast interview of the year in honour the former Radio 4 The World at One presenter Nick Clark, who died in November 2006.

The judges – Kevin Marsh, Gillian Reynolds and Peter Hennessey – were unanimous in their decision.

Former Today editor Marsh said: “Carrie’s interview was conducted in Nick’s spirit, offering a rich radio experience of remarkable quality. It was not an easy interview to carry off; it was long form [27 minutes] and took place some months after Alan’s release.

“However, Carrie’s questioning was clear, polite and carefully pitched to enable Alan to speak reflectively about his upbringing, character and personality and how he gained new insights during his captivity and afterwards.”

Alan Johnston, who was kidnapped for four months whilst covering Gaza, said that he felt the interview with Gracie was the most in-depth out of the interviews that followed his release.

The judges commended independent film maker Phil Cox, working for More4 News, and Lyse Doucet of BBC World Service, who they said both entered work of high quality reflecting Clarke’s style.

BBC Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer said: “I am delighted that the Nick Clarke prize attracted so may entries in its first year and that we had such a strong list of finalists.

“I believe Carrie Gracie will be the first in a long line of terrific broadcast journalists to win an award named after one of the BBC’s greatest interviewers.”

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