Broke without fixers

February 28, 2009

Jonathan Miller writes about the "secret weapon" of television news on the Channel 4 World News blog. He’s talking about the fixers he’s worked with in the DRC, Zimbabwe, Gaza, Pakistan, Serbia and Sudan. "When fixers deliver," Miller says, "We make good telly,"

Fixers are all-too-often the unsung heros of our business. They work long hours in sometimes dangerous places. They take risks simply doing what they do. At times, they’re tainted by association with us and have to live with the consequences – long after the foreign journalists they’d been working with have gone.

At times, for example in Zimbabwe, they work with us undercover. If they’re caught, as one of my ITV colleagues pointed out during last night’s awards ceremony, there’s no friendly foreign embassy to bail them out. We pay our fixers well – but I’ve never met one who was only in it for the money. link via @worldnewsblog

This week the Channel 4 team won the award for best International News Coverage at the Royal Television Society awards this week for its reporting of the crisis in the DRC. An award, Miller says, that would not have been possible without the help of the team’s fixer, Robert Chamwami. The Frontline Fixer’s Fund, see the video above, was set up to help the families of those fixers who are killed doing their job.