Coventry University welcomed a very special guest this week, Alex Crawford, Special Correspondent for Sky News, and four times winner of the Royal Television Society (RTS) Journalist of the Year Award. This special Coventry Conversation began with the Universities Vice-Chancellor, Professor Madeleine Atkins, CBE, starting the afternoon off by welcoming Alex. She talked about how Alex is known as a ‘fire-fighter’, to which Alex responded: “Amongst other names” making a joke about how people see her. The V.C. went on to describe some of Alex’s incredible story about how she reported from the back of a rebel pick-up truck into Tripoli during celebrations in Libya.
Alex took the reins from there, saying that: “My crew, I couldn’t actually do anything without them.” She joked about how they make her look good and she then picks up all of the awards. Alex explained that the crew suffer through the same perils she has too when out getting a story including staying in squalid conditions and having no food. She moved onto how she has: “been doing it for a long time.” but never got lots of recognition until the past six months since her reporting in Tripoli, Libya.
Written by Alex Maidment
Alex explained that it is about: “Being in the right place at the right time.” As part of her Coventry Conversation, Alex then showed the audience a couple of videos of what she did in Libya. She began with a video from Zawiyah, Libya which gave the audience a real feel for how dangerous her job is as a lot of gun fire could be heard and there were a lot of people running from the gun fire. The second video was her footage from her journey into Tripoli on the back of a rebel pick-up truck. She explained how scared she was in Zawiyah and she said that: “It was a very tricky couple of days.”
At this point, Alex was asked how she managed to get into Tripoli on the back of a rebel pick-up truck. She began by explaining the scenario and that they: “Were in this very slow moving convoy.” She praised her Producer who managed to power the vital equipment which sent the footage back to England by satellite to be put straight on air. She described how this was a huge moment as Gaddafi had said they (the rebels) would never make it into Tripoli but Sky News managed to get the footage of them doing exactly that.
Whilst she was wondering where all the other journalists were when she made it to Green Square in Tripoli she did admit that she was thinking more about: “Are we going to get out alive?” as opposed to what this reporting would do for her career. She moved on to how it was a crazy few days after this as when leaving the Green Square, she and her crew ended up at a hospital, which was then ambushed. Describing this, Alex scared went into detail of how she and one of her crew were stood outside the hospital when a Doctor helping patients to get inside was shot in the head.
Following on from this, Alex and her crew found themselves inside Gaddafi’s compound when hundreds of rebels broke through and were looting from the compound. She then told the story of how they met a bizarre looking man calmly walking towards them so decided to interview him and were moved by a touching speech in which the man said Libya needs to come to together again.
The Coventry Conversation was certainly a hit and it was truly fascinating to learn about Alex Crawford’s journey in Libya and when asked she likes the fame she simply replied: “It’s all been rather odd.”