The University of Sunderland broadcast journalism student took the prize for a report on Greek unemployment. A year earlier, he won the same award for a piece on a demonstration in Newcastle against US President Donald Trump.
When I ask the BBC’s director of news, Fran Unsworth, if the first year in her new role has lived up to her expectations, she gives a hollow laugh.
“I always knew it was going to be a challenging job, let’s put it like that,” she admits. “But quite how challenging it turned out to be – pretty quickly into it – I possibly hadn’t anticipated.
At roughly the same time the Prime Minister faced three consecutive defeats over Brexit in the House of Commons, across the road in Portcullis House another important discussion was taking place – an RTS All-Party Parliamentary Group debate on “The future of TV journalism in an age of fake news and disinformation”.
Speculation that BBC Two’s Newsnight might be axed was firmly squashed in February, when Sky News head of politics, business and specialist journalism, Esme Wren, was appointed editor of the flagship show.
Doubts about its future had re-emerged last autumn with the introduction of Nick Ferrari and Emma Barnett’s ITV series, After the News, and the announcement that Newsnight editor Ian Katz was leaving for Channel 4 to become its director of programmes.
The BBC’s schedule of programming will run from 25 June to 8 July, and the series will include programmes across BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Four, as well as BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4 and will celebrate the long history of the NHS as well as examining what the future might hold.
Now 51 she’s wondering if that sort of rootlessness will eventually get tiresome. “It’s part of this life, and that would not suit everyone,” she reflects. “There’s probably a limit to the number of times that you can do it or that you should do it. That said, I keep doing it…”
Landing a major assignment or, as modest journalists would prefer to phrase it, getting your teeth into a powerful story, can sometimes be a mix of good fortune and the result of a sequence of random, unrelated events.
Towards the end of August 2017, my team and I were preparing to head out to Bangladesh to cover floods in the north of the country. It was not particularly unusual – sadly, Bangladesh experiences them every year. The situation was severe but certainly not the worst in its history.
“It’s an all-consuming job which can be immensely satisfying, but it demands a great deal and you have to be prepared to make that commitment… Sounds awful [but] it’s a lot of fun and you get to travel and someone else pays for it.”
Bowen has become a household name during his 33 year career at the BBC, reporting from conflict zones across the world. He can still reel off the names of the hotels he’s stayed in while reporting from El Salvador, Bosnia, Croatia and Iraq. “I’m a bit obsessed with hotels,” he admits.
BBC News’ Mobile and Online teams will create twelve new positions across a wide range of content for people with disabilities, including broadcast journalists and assistant editors.
The scheme will include bespoke training and a mentoring programme, and at least half of the roles will become permanent at the end of the year.
Information about how to apply will be available shortly on the BBC Careers website.
Benjamin’s career began while still at university where he launched a travel website, Informed Explorer and began producing video content. He is now the editor of BBC Pop Up, a mobile bureau which travels the world making current affairs documentaries, as well as a programme maker for Panorama, the BBC’s long running investigative series.
Born in Liverpool and without any connections in journalism or the BBC, Zand has forced his way up through hard work and talent, and along the way he has picked up a lot of handy advice.