Ian Burrell: ITV News front-runner for award with its controversial coverage of the Woolwich murder of Lee Rigby

The Media Column

The Royal Television Society will stage its Television Journalism Awards next week and there is a tension around this year’s event.

ITV News is seen as front-runner in the contest with its controversial coverage of the Woolwich murder of Lee Rigby. The phone footage of killer Michael Adebolajo waving his bloodied hands was one of the most memorable news reports of 2013 – although it provoked 600 viewer complaints.

Rival broadcast journalists are unhappy that ITV paid a rumoured £20,000 for the footage. The broadcaster has refused to confirm or deny that it paid the citizen film-maker.

There is a parallel with The Daily Telegraph being named Newspaper of the Year for its brilliant 2009 MPs’ expenses scoop based on a computer disk which – it later transpired – cost the paper £150,000.

Ed Campbell, news editor of ITV News, showed fine initiative in rushing back to get the Woolwich film on air and there is far more to ITV’s entry than the citizen’s bloody clip.

Twitter: @iburrell