Rebels from Sky News, moving fluidly around the battlefront in small, mobile teams carried in fast Japanese pickups called 'Technicals' amongst broadcasters scored a series of victories in recent days as Tripoli fell. They had live footage of the looting of Gadaffi's compound when the thirty-strong BBC crew were still painstakingly completing their risk-assessment forms in the hills twenty kilometers away. This didn't, of course, stop the BBC from reporting it - we got far-away footage of a plume of smoke from the Beeb, filmed through a high-power telephoto lens, that they claimed was Gadaffi's compound, but it could have been anything.
The BBC gave us footage of tracer rounds in the night sky filmed from their hotel balcony. Sky gave us footage of the guys firing the tracer. The BBC gave us footage of emptied arms depots that the rebels had long moved on from; Sky gave us footage of the rebels breaking into the depots. The BBC gave us footage of bullet and rocket pockmarked walls; Sky gave us footage of its reporters crouched under walls as the rounds impacted above their heads.
It's really time we asked whether the TV Tax is going to the right people; perhaps we should confine the BBC to reporting Royal weddings and party conferences and pay proper news-gathering teams to tackle the hard stuff?