Sky News named News Channel of the Year at RTS awards

February 24, 2021

Sky News has been named News Channel of the Year at the Royal Television Society awards.

It scooped a total of five prizes, including best home and international coverage, while Nick Martin was named Specialist Journalist of the Year, and John Ryley, the head of Sky News, won the Outstanding Contribution Award.

The channel's special report 'A Warning From Italy' had, the judges said, "brought home the severity of the COVID pandemic early" and had demonstrated "powerful and brave journalism".

Its UK coverage of the crisis, entitled 'COVID UK' was described as a "must watch during these difficult times" and had included reportage that had "offered insight into the lives of ordinary people".

Nick Martin, they said, had "brought to life the human dramas" in his moving accounts of people in care homes, and their family struggles, through this difficult year, but crucially, he had also "held politicians to account".

The judges also said John Ryley had "effected genuine change in our business".

Simon Bucks, the awards chairman, described him as "individual, idiosyncratic, integral and influential - a colossal presence".

RTS congratulated Sky News and in particular its coverage of the pandemic labelling it "a vital function providing crucial information, as it emerged, that affected us all".

It added: "Well done to the team."

Bucks said: "The COVID-19 pandemic has been the first truly global news story most of us have ever known and it has gripped audiences, day in, day out.

"The media's coverage - and that of TV in particular - continues to be, literally, a matter of life and death."

"It's no surprise therefore that many of the nominated entries concern the pandemic."

This year, the 'Judges' Award' was an unusual one - given to all the various channels' technical teams in recognition of the ingenuity, innovation and speed they demonstrated this year to keep journalism on the air - throughout the unprecedented challenges coronavirus brought.

The RTS awards, for both news and current affairs, seek to recognise creative and excellent journalism by organisations whose broadcasts are transmitted on a UK-based platform, or who create online video content from a UK production base.

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