Sky News’ coverage of the Libyan uprising beamed back via BGAN has won special correspondent Alex Crawford a second industry award. Alex was named broadcasting journalist of the year at the 2012 London Press Club Awards on May8, 2012.
We were live on air via satphone, telling the studio about the scenes of celebration we could see, but it was evident that nobody could quite believe what we were saying
Earlier this year, her compelling live reporting of the moment opposition forces entered Tripoli – described as “heroic journalism” – won the channel a Royal Television Society award.
Alex described how her news team used BGAN to capture a key moment during the unrest in Libya in 2010. Spotting a convoy heading for the capital from a recently liberated town, the journalist, her producer and two cameramen grabbed their Inmarsat kit and followed. They became the only news team in the world to transmit live footage of the fighters’ triumphant entry into the city.
Scenes of celebration
“We were live on air via satphone, telling the studio about the scenes of celebration we could see, but it was evident that nobody could quite believe what we were saying,” recalled Alex. “So we decided to rig up the BGAN and show them the pictures.” Producer Andy Marsh set up their BGAN terminal from the back of a pick-up truck, which was moving slowly through the gridlocked streets.
“We had it attached to the cigarette lighter for power, connected to a laptop, and Andy synched it up with the Inmarsat satellite,” said Alex. “He was monitoring the connection, and as we crawled forward he moved the unit ever so slightly to maintain the link. It was a genius move.” The connection was so reliable that the team were able to broadcast live and uninterrupted coverage for 40 minutes, as Alex answered questions from the studio in London.
Producer Andy Marsh set up their BGAN terminal from the back of a pick-up truck, which was moving slowly through the gridlocked streets
Mike Seery, head of media sector development for Inmarsat, said: “This is a fantastic example of the power and flexibility of BGAN. It demonstrates just how quick and easy it is to set up a BGAN and get a reliable connection for live video reporting.
“If there is news breaking from a remote part of the world, and a news crew covering it, you’ll most probably find a BGAN.”
Inmarsat distribution partner GMPCS has worked with Sky News for many years.
“Sky News has built their 24-hour rolling news operation on some pioneering use of mobile satcoms, and have been enthusiastic adopters of BGAN,” said GMPCS director John Stoltz. “Their commitment to technology is one of the reasons they achieve the award-winning coverage.”