Thursday, February 23, 2012

RTS Awards Night Stuart Webb

RTS Awards UK
Stuart Webb doesn't do awards, a peculiar thing to say as you could say almost all practitioners might say the same.

But standing in front of his peers, bathed in glowing lights having just been told he was the best cameraman in the TV News business this year at the Royal Television Awards (RTS), his demeanor said so.

Stuart Webb award winning cameraman
copyright C4 News
His praise for his industry showed a deftness to this sometimes awkward occasion.  The words were gilt-edged, in which any journalist, manager, or TV practitioner would want to imprint on the viewing public at large.

Webb's speech was also for those often evaluating TV News for its dearth of humanistic coverage, a robust and eloquent defence of its realm.

He described how he'd covered conflicts with Alex Thomson, Channel 4's award winning correspondent; and how the bombs fell as loud menacing thuds.

He spoke of a child being severely hurt and how over a 30 minute period the crew watched as the injured child died, once, twice and again.

The viewer at home tends to forget the intricacies of TV News' logistics. The crew watched the child die in reality, and then relived it through the monitor on playback and then again as they decided what editable sequence they would show us viewers at home. The immanence of those inhumane images lives with you.

Webb's parting words from the podium, his voice restraining traces of emotion, was as nuanced as his filming.

He delivered a sincere thanks to Channel 4 News, a tribute to ITN, and then to acknowledge a TV Industry that had given him the selfless opportunity to bring incredible stories to the viewer, for as he so powerfully put it those bombs that reigned down on him and his colleagues, well:

"On our best days we are louder than the bombs".

You can read more about Stuart Webb and his many experiences such as Iraq a hollywood start that descended into war on the channel 4 website.

David Dunkley Gyimah was a juror at the RTS, the highest awards for TV journalism in the UK, and a freelance producer for Channel 4 News from 1997-2001. He is completing his PhD on the TV/ online news industry at the SMARTlab, UCD and publishes his reports on his award winning

Further related links for RTS and Al Jazeera winning their major awards