ITV News international editor Bill Neely in Tripoli, LibyaCopyright: ITV News
Q. What were you most proud of in 2011?
A. It's obviously been an extraordinary year, from one story to the next with hardly a breath in between.
We were most proud, I think, of our reporting from Misrata. Our correspondent John Irvine was the first British journalist into Misrata and filed a very moving dispatch at a time when the fate of the people of Misrata was pretty much unreported. As the humanitarian situation evolved and access became easier we remained committed to that story.
One of the things that ITV News does not get much attention for but that we remain resolutely committed to is the quality of our writing, of our packaging, of our dispatches from our foreign correspondents, some of whom are the finest in the world.
It is easy to get carried away by the sound and fury of the 24-hour agenda and the world of Twitter, but I think if people look back at our considered reporting on News at Ten, on the bigger stories of the year, they all see that ITN and ITV News is still at the top of its game and still provides world class news reporting from the biggest international stories.
Q. What were the biggest challenges of 2011?
A. One was the sheer intensity of going from one story to the other: from Tunisia to Egypt to Bahrain to Libya, without a breath. ITV News/ITN is not the biggest organisation – we have quality rather than quantity – and for us to move from story to story with the intensity and quality that we did, given the resources of our rivals, was quite something.Some of our cameramen have pointed out to me that they have been to five or six different conflict zones and that was really what they did all yearTim Singleton
It was hard to achieve at times with the length of commitment, especially to the Libya story. But we haven't been found wanting and every member of staff has risen to the challenge and provided extraordinary commitment in very difficult circumstances.
You also have to look at the safety issues that have been thrown up. Some of our cameramen have pointed out to me that they have been to five or six different conflict zones and that was really what they did all year. There was not much light and shade in what they did and to ask people to go back and do those stories month after month is challenging.
In a funny way Japan raised the biggest issues, the most difficult issues of all, because with Libya and Egypt you pretty much knew what you were dealing with even if it was erratic and unforeseen at times but essentially it was a conflict.
But with Japan and the nuclear threat, that was uncharted territory for many of us and what do you do in the middle of the night UK time, when you are confronted with a potential radiation risk and you don't know how to quantify it, you don't know how to analyse it, even your safety experts aren't experts in nuclear radiation and the threats of it? I think Japan was the most challenging from a managerial point of view but from a field-reporting perspective I think Libya provided the most difficult and dangerous specific environment.
Julie Etchingham in Japan
Q. What was the most difficult decision of 2011?
A. I sometimes think that for a very well resourced international news organisation you sometimes don't have to make decisions as you generally have people in the area. I am not saying others have had an easier year - others have been stretched by the year's events – but sometimes for us we deliberately have to choose what not to cover and what to put resources into.
One of those that stood out is the New Zealand earthquake, which we did not send to. And they are tough decisions but we only have a finite amount of resource. We are well resourced by ITV, I am not complaining about that, but we do have to make tough decisions. We have six news bureaux around the world, compare that to however many the BBC or CNN has and you can see that we have to make decisions on pretty much everything.
I am not complaining about that, that is just the way it is. We are happy with what we have got but it does mean that you have to make tough decisions sometimes as to the amount of resources you put in or whether you go at all. You have those decisions most years but it's the unrelenting intensity, month to month, week to week is what has been different about 2011.
Q. What is on the horizon for 2012?
A. It is still full of known unknowns: Syria, Egypt, Russia, the whole Eurozone, French presidential elections, the European football championships, domestically the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, foreign trips and of course the Olympics. It does not look as though we are going to have time to pause for breath but we relish that. We would much rather be working in a crowded editorial environment than a sparse one. With the team that I have around me I have absolutely no doubt that it will be a bright 2012.
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