LAS VEGAS--()--A news team from Sky News that provided compelling and award-winning coverage of the Libyan uprising has told how they relied on Inmarsat BGAN to report to audiences worldwide.
“So we decided to rig up the BGAN and show them the pictures.”
Alex Crawford, special correspondent for Sky News, her producer and two cameramen were reporting from the newly-liberated town of Zawiya when they spotted a convoy of opposition fighters heading for the capital Tripoli. Taking their BGAN unit with them, they decided to follow the group, and became the world’s only news crew to capture the moment opposition forces entered Tripoli.
“We were live on air via satphone, telling the studio about the scenes of celebration we could see, but it was evident that nobody could quite believe what we were saying,” said Ms Crawford. “So we decided to rig up the BGAN and show them the pictures.”
Producer Andy Marsh set up the BGAN from the back of a pickup truck, which was moving slowly through the gridlocked streets. “We had it attached to the cigarette lighter for power, connected to a laptop, and Andy synched it up with the Inmarsat satellite,” said Ms Crawford. “He was monitoring the connection, and as we crawled forward, he moved the unit ever so slightly to maintain the link. It was a genius move.”
The connection was so reliable that the team was able to broadcast live and provide uninterrupted coverage for 40 minutes, as Ms. Crawford answered questions from the studio in London. “As soon as they could see the pictures you could hear the penny dropping the other end quite dramatically,” she said.
“The viewers of Sky News expect to see reports from the heart of the story, and so the news teams need to be ready to move at a moment’s notice and follow the story wherever it leads,” said Mike Seery, Head of Media Sector Development for Inmarsat. “Mobility and speed of set-up, as well as reliability, are all essential. BGAN has delivered all of these for the Sky News reports.”
Ms Crawford, three times winner of the Royal Television Society’s Journalist of the Year, has been praised for her bravery and tenacity to be the first broadcast journalist to enter the city. Her live reporting from Libya has been described as “heroic journalism”. Earlier this year Sky News’ coverage of Libya won a Royal Television Society award, with judges praising the team’s “brilliant achievements in just getting to the right places at the crucial moment.”
Sky News is one of the world’s most sophisticated users of mobile satellite technology. Inmarsat distribution partner GMPCS has worked with the broadcaster for many years. “Sky News has built their 24-hour rolling news operation on some pioneering use of mobile satcoms, and have been enthusiastic adopters of BGAN,” said John Stoltz, Director, GMPCS. “Their commitment to technology is one of the reasons they achieve the award-winning coverage.”
“This is a fantastic example of the power and flexibility of BGAN,” said Mike Seery. “It demonstrates just how quick and easy it is to set up a BGAN and get a reliable connection for live video reporting. If there is news breaking from a remote part of the world, and a news crew covering it, you’ll most probably find a BGAN.”
Inmarsat plc is the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services. Since 1979, Inmarsat has been providing reliable voice and high-speed data communications to governments, enterprises and other organizations, with a range of services that can be used on land, at sea or in the air. Inmarsat employs around 1,500 staff in more than 40 locations around the world, with a presence in the major ports and centres of commerce on every continent. For the year ended 31st December 2011, Inmarsat plc had total revenue of US$1,409 million and an EBITDA of US$854 million. Inmarsat is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:ISAT.L). For more information, please visit www.inmarsat.com.
GMPCS, headquartered in southeast Florida, is a leading global satellite communications provider offering total communications solutions to customers including news gathering organizations, emergency response organizations, yacht owners, workboat and fishing fleets, state and federal government organizations, energy exploration and production companies, enterprise businesses, airlines, and more. www.GMPCS-US.com
GMPCS' parent company, Network Innovations Inc., is based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Network Innovations specializes in the service and distribution of turn-key satellite communications solutions, including equipment, system integration, and airtime, as well as the development of unique emergency response, oil-field, and defense-related services. www.NetworkINV.com