from my experience with the Kegworth air disaster how quickly reporters
can be on the scene – minutes. Thank goodness for those who raced to
New Orleans, in anticipation of, and in response to, Katrina. Hopefully
the distressing images they showed the world helped speed rescue
On Friday evening, Channel 4’s Jon Snow broadcast live
from hurricane-hit Slidell. His interviews with local people gave us
the human dimension to this disaster. Wrapping up the programme, he
struggled for words to encapsulate what he’d seen, settling for
‘humungous’. The BBC’s Matt Frei declared poetically: “When the waters
rose, poverty floated like jetsam to the surface”.
offers plenty of scope for the personal touch. Harold Evans is off to a
good start with A Point of View. Trying to replace Alistair Cooke was
always going to be tough, but if anyone can do it, they’ll have to get
past Evans first. He comments from a breadth of experience about
“Where is Outschakov now?” This question scrolled
fleetingly across my screen as I followed the online text commentary
for a Tour de France stage. I like the personal and often quirky asides
that people bring to their writing or broadcasting. This was a fine
Some well-informed writing transformed the commentary
from being a dull list of who is where, by adding colour to maintain
In 1995, Outschakov, in a breakaway group of four
riders, was the only one to respond when an American tried to snatch a
stage win. He overwhelmed Lance Armstrong, “making the future
six-times-champion look like a hack”.
There was a tremendous
effort from the Baptist Times’ editorial team, led by Mark Woods, who
worked around the clock producing five editions of Congress Daily for
the Baptist World Congress attended by more than 12,000 delegates in
Aided by several foreign journalists and
photographers, they worked 16 hours daily to get 10,000 copies of the
12-page tabloid out each morning.
Stories were in English, German and Spanish. The Daily’s four photographers had a riot capturing this multi-cultured event.
Tim Heeley, a former broadcast journalist, is director of Agora Partnership Ltd, a PR and marketing consultancy