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 1984/5. His reports filmed with the Nairobi-based cameraman, Mohamed Amin alerted the world to the extent of the tragedy. They were shown worldwide, to an audience of billions. They led directly to a massive international relief effort itself valued in billions of dollars, which was estimated to have saved well over a million lives.
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. He has been awarded the “Golden Nymph” at the Monte Carlo Film and Television Festival Europe’s premier prize for television journalism and the United States “National Headliner” and “George Polk” awards, two of the three most important honours there for broadcasters.
In 1988 he was the third recipient of the James Cameron Memorial award, given for “work as a journalist that combined moral vision and professional integrity” in his coverage of the township uprising and state of emergency in South Africa.
Michael is chairman of The Moral Maze, the BBC Radio 4’s discussion programme on moral and ethical issues.
He also presents regular television series including Britain by Boat, two series of How the Victorians Built Britain, The Blitz: Britain on Fire, Celebrity 5 Go Barging and Britain’s Great Pensions Crisis on Channel 5. He has also presented the BBC One daytime series Royal Recipes and Heir Hunters and Britain’s Secret Treasures and Pompeii with Michael Buerk for ITV. On Channel 4 he has reported for several Dispatches documentaries and also presented the one-off Can I Improve My Memory?
Michael started at BBC TV News in 1973. He was a network reporter from 1973-1976, industrial correspondent (1976/7), Energy Correspondent (1977/9), Scotland Correspondent (1979/80), Special Correspondent (1980/2), Southern Africa Correspondent (1983/7).
He presented BBC Television’s flagship news programme, The Ten O’clock News and the peak-time BBC 1 programme about emergencies, 999.
Michael presented many other television and radio programmes for the BBC including major events such as the Royal Wedding of Prince Edward, the Solar Eclipse in 1999 and the BBC’s Millennium night coverage; BBC One’s Tobacco Wars, Soul of Britain and the three-part series The Hand of God in 2003. He also presented The Choice for Radio 4, a single interview programme about individual dilemmas.
He narrated the popular Sky One series Pineapple Dance Studios. He also appeared on reality shows I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here in 2014.
Michael’s autobiography, The Road Taken, was published by in 2004.
Michael also chairs conferences and seminars and is a highly skilled conference facilitator and after dinner speaker. He has a wealth of experience hosting events and award ceremonies, both at home and abroad.