Michael Buerk has probably won more international awards for television reporting than any other British journalist most notably for his coverage of the Ethiopian famine for BBC News in 1984/5. His reports filmed with the Nairobi-based cameraman, Mohamed Amin alerted the world to the extent of the tragedy. They were shown worldwide, to an audience of billions. They led directly to a massive international relief effort itself valued in billions of dollars, which was estimated to have saved well over a million lives.
He was named “Television Journalist of the Year” by the Royal Television Society in 1984 and won a second RTS award that year for foreign reporting. He has won the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award for factual broadcasting. He has been awarded the “Golden Nymph” at the Monte Carlo Film and Television Festival Europe’s premier prize for television journalism and the United States “National Headliner” and “George Polk” awards, two of the three most important honours there for broadcasters.
In 1988 he was the third recipient of the James Cameron Memorial award, given for “work as a journalist that combined moral vision and professional integrity” in his coverage of the township uprising and state of emergency in South Africa.
He has reported for BBC TV News since 1973. He was a network reporter from 1973-1976, industrial correspondent (1976/7), Energy Correspondent (1977/9), Scotland Correspondent (1979/80), Special Correspondent (1980/2), Southern Africa Correspondent (1983/7).
He presented BBC Television’s flagship news programme, The Ten O’clock News and he also presented the peak-time BBC 1 programme about emergencies, 999.
He is chairman of the BBC’s discussion programme on moral and ethical issues The Moral Maze(BBC Radio 4). He has also presented The Choice for Radio 4, a single interview programme about individual dilemmas.
In addition he chairs, presents, reports for, and contributes to, a number of other television and radio programmes, mostly for the BBC. These have included major events such as the Royal Wedding of Prince Edward, the Eclipse and the BBC’s Millennium night coverage, and also BBC1 docudrama Wren: The Man Who Built Britain and major BBC1 series Tobacco Wars and Soul of Britain and the three-part series The Hand of God in 2003. In 2005 he presented What Are Men For? as part of the Don’t Get Me Started series on Channel Five. Michael also narrated the popular Sky1 series, Pineapple Dance Studios.
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