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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 1984/1985. His reports, filmed with the Nairobi-based cameraman Mohamed Amin, alerted the world to the extent of the tragedy.
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. His honours include a Golden Nymph from Monte Carlo Film and Television Festival and the prestigious American National Headliner and George Polk awards. In 1988 he was the third recipient of the James Cameron Memorial Award, recognising “work as a journalist that combined moral vision and professional integrity” in his coverage of South Africa’s township uprising and state of emergency.
Michael began his journalism career with the Bromsgrove Messenger, South Wales Echo and the Daily Mail before joining Radio Bristol in 1970 and becoming a reporter for BBC News in 1973. He started on the BBC Nine O’Clock News as industrial correspondent in 1976 and progressed to main presenter in 1988, a post he held until 2000. A notable bulletin was the first BBC News one of the new millennium at 0100GMT on 1 January 2000.
From 1986 to 2003 he also presented the BBC One O’Clock News and in the first three years of the new millennium presented the flagship news programme, the BBC Ten O’Clock News. He has also presented Breakfast and 999, the peak-time programme about emergencies. He has reported on a number of major events for the BBC including the Royal Wedding of Prince Edward, the Eclipse and the Millennium night.
Michael’s autobiography, The Road Taken, was published by Hutchinson in September 2004. He presented What Are Men For? as part of the Don’t Get Me Started series on Channel Five in 2005. His radio work includes chairing BBC Radio 4’s ethical issue discussion programme The Moral Maze and presenting The Choice, also for Radio 4.
In 2010, he narrated Sky1 reality show Pineapple Dance Studios. Buerk made five guest appearances on the BBC’s The One Show and was the cover presenter for Jason Manford on six occasions. He appeared on a celebrity version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire with Jennie Bond raising £64,000 for charity and managed to win when he competed on Celebrity Mastermind in 2011. Most recently he co-presented a series (with Bettany Hughes) on ITV called Britain’s Secret Treasures, looking at fifty of the most remarkable archaeological finds made by the British public.
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