'Human touch gives us the edge'

Sky News has the human edge over its competitors, according to RTS Television Journalist of the Year Dominic Waghorn.

Waghorn, who also won the RTS international news award for his report on baby snatching in China, said that Sky News deserved to win news channel of the year.

Talking to Press Gazette from the Middle East, he said: "I think News24 and BBC World can seem staid and quite dry, and I think Sky has always had a personality.

"We've always had the human edge over our competitors; we do more than just rolling news. The thing about Sky is that it's very committed to foreign news that works, and really connects to the viewers."

Waghorn, who spent two years working as Sky News's Asia correspondent, said he continually came up against the "tight media control machine" of the Chinese Government that prevents the country's own media from flourishing.

But he said that towards the end of his time in Asia he saw the emergence of citizen journalism, something he thought would heavily benefit foreign correspondents.

"We were beginning to get the material from ordinary Chinese people who were filming it with their phones or video cameras and it was beginning to filter up to us. We used some of that material in our pieces, and I think we're going to see a lot more of that from China. That's really important, somewhere like China you're really starved of pictures and when that stuff started coming through it was dynamite."

According to the Chinese Government's own figures, there are 80,000 protests a year, but Waghorn said he could count on one hand the number of images he saw of them.

"That gives an idea of how little gets through, but you're just beginning to see it, and I think the more of the activist or the citizen camera work — the more you see of that, the more the truth will get out. It will mainly benefit the foreign correspondents, but I think it will make it much harder for the Chinese Government to lie about what's going on.

"The amazing thing about the technological revolution in China is that wherever you go, everyone seems to have a phone, even people literally sitting on the back of buffalo carts, they've all got phones, and increasingly they've got cameras in them.

"Once they've started to use them and take pictures, the next step is handing it on to the right person. Quite often they hand them on to Chinese journalists, who are too scared to use the pictures, sometimes they pass them on to us.

"More often than not I get the impression that they don't because it's just too dangerous to pass them onto a foreign journalist."

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