BBC journalist Jonathan Gibson (pictured), a double-winner at the Midlands Media Awards for two years in succession, reflects upon the importance of such events.
I’ll admit it - I do like an awards ‘do.’ It’s also fair to say I’m ribbed by my colleagues on a regular basis for saying so! But events like the Midlands Media Awards are important.
Sure it’s great to be honoured by your peers and I was really chuffed to be recently named TV Journalist of the Year for the second year running. But much more than that, events like the MMA provide a rare chance to catch up with friends and colleagues from across the industry in celebration of the great work that is still produced across the printed press, online, on TV and in Radio.
I use the word ‘still’ deliberately. We all know the media landscape has changed immeasurably in recent years and certainly since I began my career as a sub editor with Westcountry Television back in 1998 but for all the changes the fundamentals have - as far as I’m concerned - remained the same.
That’s because for as long as I’ve worked in TV I’ve always aspired to be as good as the best print journalists. Why? Well these are the men and women who despite the cutbacks, the closures and the downsizing which has beset the printed press in recent years continue to break the exclusives, expose the wrongdoing and hold people to account.
There are quite a few of my colleagues past and present who won’t thank me for saying it but I draw a clear distinction between being a good TV reporter and a good TV journalist.
For me the motivation has always been to deliver agenda setting journalism; stories which make people sit up and listen, provoke reaction and hopefully make a difference. The kind of stories the printed press has always delivered so well and TV does well sometimes, but not as consistently. That’s why as much as I’ve loved being a TV reporter I’ve always described myself as a TV journalist. I have a passion for long-term investigations, the undercover exposes and delivering stories, which are worthy of being called original journalism.
It’s this type of journalism which the Midlands Media Awards continues to recognise. A celebration of the journalists whose readers and audiences are as diverse as their working environments but who share a passion for delivering something original, even when that means regularly burning the midnight oil, copious amounts of unpaid overtime and the odd dirty look when not for the first time and despite the promises, we’re late home from work…yet again!