RTS Journalism Awards

RTS Journalism Awards 2024: A Night of Sombre Reflection and Celebration

The RTS Journalism Awards are always a fun event on the calendar. With so many familiar faces you can easily bump into people who you believe are old friends as they beam from your TV screens night after night.  You are also awestruck by so many dedicated correspondents who heroically report from challenging positions in challenging situations.

This year had a very different feel to the proceedings with major conflicts still raging in the Middle East and Ukraine and this was acknowledged by a one-minute silence at the start of the evening.

Despite the obvious concerns over current events, there was much to celebrate too. The evening was smoothly chaired by Adrian Wells, MD of Enex – and presented expertly by the highly professional Susanna Reid.

Winners lists have been published elsewhere but some notable highlights included Reuters which won the ‘Breaking News’ award for being first on the scene to record to the world the October 7th massacre – which was balanced by eyewitness accounts of Gaza by Al Jazeera won Current Affairs – International and who accepted the award on behalf of the production crew who were still in the war zone.

Away from Geo-Politics, there were also many UK news stories which were winners including Channel 4 for the Russell Brand expose (2 awards), the growth of homelessness (  ITN/ ITV News ) Knife Crime Investigation ( ITV) and the Nottingham Attacks ( Dan Hewitt  ITV News).

Beth Rigby (Sky News) won Political Journalist of the Year and Joshua Stokes picked up emerging young talent of the year for his report Summerland, the Forgotten Disaster for ITV.

ITV led the pack with a total of 6 awards, followed by Channel 4 with four. However, Sky News won the coveted News Channel of the Year. The BBC went home almost empty-handed which must have been disappointing for the new BBC Chairman Samir Shah who attended the event also.

Kirsty Walk deservedly received the Outstanding Contribution Award for her long and prestigious career as a dogged interviewer dating back to the days of Margaret Thatcher and most recently Newsnight.

Susanna Reid stepped off the podium for a brief moment, so that Adrian Wells could honour her with the Network Presenter of the Year for her work on both GMTV and previously BBC Breakfast. She paid tribute to her colleagues at ITV and her previous mentor Bill Turnbull (BBC )  in an uncharacteristic emotional moment.

But the biggest cheer of all was reserved for the recipient of the RTS Special Award – Martin Lewis CBE, a journalist by profession who has championed the public through many economic crises and fiercely defended consumer rights. He challenged the BBC to spend less money on international geopolitical programming and more on the individual consumer – pointing out that Watchdog was only briefly featured in ‘The One Show’ and he needed the competition!

Finally, a big thank you to the RTS for putting on a night to remember and many congratulations to Teresa Wise in particular for her recent MBE awarded in the New Year’s Honour list – very well deserved.