Phillip Norton is a BBC Look North, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Video Journalist and the winner of the Prix CIRCOM 2014 Video Journalism Category.

Tell us about your Prix entry?

I entered three pieces which I think demonstrate the versatile role of a video journalist within the BBC, from fast-paced breaking news to reflective features telling the stories of people living and working in our part of the UK.

When an unprecedented tidal surge flooded many parts of the east coast of England in December, I found myself in the middle of the story in Hull as the River Humber poured over sea defences and began flooding residential streets. With other resources some distance away, I knew it was down to my camera and I to tell the stories of the people desperately trying to save their homes as the flood waters in the city rose around their feet. In almost unimaginable scenes, I had to keep thinking clearly as to what the story was and where the best places would be to document the historical event. I had to consider the potential dangers of fast-flowing flood water, but balance that with the need to tell people's stories. On top of all that, I had to keep an eye on my watch - this all happened within three hours of our evening news programme. I returned to the newsroom with less than half an hour to edit the piece, but it made the top story and would run on national BBC outlets the following day.

In contrast to this, my second piece is the story of Gilbert Chadwick, an 80-year-old great grandfather who was named showman of the year at the famous Hull Fair, the largest travelling funfair in Europe. I spent many hours with Gilbert as he prepared for the opening night, my discreet role as a video journalist putting him at ease and allowing him to open up to me to talk about his life on the road. It allowed for some brilliant footage of Gilbert climbing ladders, repairing hydraulic hoses and preparing his fun house attraction with an endearing energy and enthusiasm that defied his advancing years.

My third story as part of the entry is about new footpaths laid in my home town of Grimsby in a scheme that cost more than £1-million. I had heard from a relative that there was a potential to trigger epileptic seizures due to the vivid patterns the paving stones were laid in. This was a line I managed to stand up with my own investigation, finding a councillor - who suffers from epilepsy - with similar concerns who revealed to me he had also raised the issue with the council. In addition, I found another case study of a woman who maintained the patterns had triggered severe migraines, the first time she'd had an attack for 20 years. By spending a number of hours in the area with my camera, I was able to find a wide selection of people with different concerns about the footpath. The story went on to dominate news agendas among our rivals, even appearing in national newspapers.


Tell us about yourself?

I joined the BBC as a video journalist in 2005 after starting out as a trainee reporter at my local newspaper, the Grimsby Telegraph. I'd first walked through the doors there as a 15-year-old work experience student on a placement from school. The thrill of deadlines, being out and about in the field and telling stories about the area where I live had me hooked, and I knew it was the career for me. I completed more placements while studying for a journalism degree at university in Southampton and joined the newspaper when I graduated. I became a senior reporter, specialising in crime stories, before joining the BBC Look North team. It had always been a dream to work for the BBC, and still find myself having a reality check nine years on! As well as my role as a video journalist for the news programme, I also film the popular Helicopter Heroes show, following the work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, and work as a reporter covering the north of England for the main BBC News outlets.

In my spare time, I'm usually out of the country exploring different parts of the world or skiing. I love travel and new experiences, and in 2011 took a year-long career break to make a solo trip around the world. While at home, I follow the fortunes of Grimsby Town Football Club, try to play golf or can be found with a paintbrush or screwdriver in my hand while renovating my house!


What is next for you?

I feel very fortunate to be in the position that I am, reporting for the country's most-watched regional news programme, telling the stories of people and places in the area where I was born and grew up. There is a fantastic, talented team around me at BBC Look North full of great ideas, enthusiasm and a shared love of telling brilliant stories in such creative ways. We all continuously learn from each other, which is a brilliant atmosphere to work in as a journalist. I'd quite like to build on my reporting opportunities at a national level, and there are continuous opportunities for me on the programme-making side filming Helicopter Heroes, so I am lucky to have such a varied role within the organisation. In the meantime, i'm never off-duty, always looking for the next 'big story' and eager to bring more original journalism to our audience.


Tell us one thing you’re putting in your suitcase for Cavtat?

My alarm clock - while I always get my story edited in time, this fantastic awards night is one deadline I definitely don't want to miss!

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