Chiswick Camera Journalist Wins Award

Julie Ritson praised for her work in conflict areas


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A local BBC camera journalist has won a prestigious award for her ground-breaking work in the traditionally male-dominated field of TV news shooting and editing. Chiswick resident Julie Ritson received the 'Panalux Craft' award at the Women in Film and Television Awards (WFTA) at the Hilton Hotel, for her work in areas such as Afghanistan and Bosnia.

BBC boss Andrew Steele, Head of Newsgathering Operations, BBC News, described Julie as "an enormously skilled shoot-edit, an amiable ambassador for the news business and a forthright representative of women in the male-dominated field of shooting and editing."

The glittering ceremony which recognises the achievements of women in the industry, was also attended by Chiswick residents Clare Balding, a 2012 winner) and partner Alice Arnold. Ruby Wax presented the awards.

Julie Ritson filming in Kabul

Julie, who has been with the BBC for twenty-five years, including stints at Newsnight, has lived in Chiswick since 1994, apart from a a six year break when she worked abroad from 1997-2003. A regular dog walker at Chiswick House, she is also a volunteer at the annual Dog show.

Julie commented: " I'm very proud to get this award because there are so few camerawomen working in the mostly male dominated field of TV News shooting and editing but I think it's important that they do and that they are encouraged. A few months ago I filmed a BBC news piece about forced marriages. The women we interviewed were very nervous and didn't want to be identified. However having an all female team made them feel more comfortable to tell their difficult stories. 

"Last month three women who had been held as slaves for 30 years finally escaped their captors and it turns out that they had seen that film. It had given them the courage to call the Freedom charity who then helped them to safety. More women have since escaped similar situations. I feel very proud that we in News can sometimes change people's lives for the better, especially vulnerable, scared women who don't know who to turn to for help.

"I think generally shooting and editing for TV news is a bit of an invisible craft. Viewers at home watch a correspondent dodging bullets or being tear gased and I think they sometimes forget that there’s someone else there with them filming it. It's nice to occasionally get some recognition".

Julie joined the BBC in 1988 as an assistant film editor, working on the Brass Tacks programme and moving onto The Money Programme, Here and Now and Newsnight. In 1994 she got her first job as a camera operator and from the late 1990s to 2003, was based abroad, first in the BBC New York business bureau and then to Moscow, including several post-9/11 trips to Afghanistan. She also filmed during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, as a handful of BBC shoot-edits embedded with British military forces.

She says one of the most traumatic stories she ever covered was in September 2004 filming the Beslan school siege which left 334 people dead, including 186 children, for Panorama.

However, it is not all war and conflict and she has covered the Cannes Film Festival and interviewed George Clooney. Some of her recent work includes the year-long build up to to Sir Ranulph Fiennes Coldest Journey expedition, coverage of the Olympics, the Falklands War memorial story, and Walking with the Wounded, filming in Iceland.

You can read more about her work at :

December 7, 2013

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