On 1st June CVP began to support the Rory Peck Trust 365 days a year.
Chloe Baxter of CVP caught up with RPT’s Molly Clarke at their offices in London to talk about the new relationship and RPT’s work with freelance journalists, video journalists and camera operators.
Chloe Baxter (CB): So Molly, can you tell me about Rory Peck? Who was he and why was the Trust named after him?
Molly Clarke (MC): Rory was a well-respected freelance news cameraman who worked throughout the late twentieth century, covering the first Gulf War; the wars in Bosnia and Afghanistan and the many armed conflicts following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. During that time he captured important images for a range of broadcasters including the BBC and ARD. After he was killed in 1993, his widow Juliet and a group of close friends decided to set up the Rory Peck Trust to provide support for the families of freelance cameramen and camerawomen. Since then we’ve grown into an international organisation supporting freelancers all over the world.
CB: Its great to hear that something that started as a small family and friends-based initiative has grown so successfully. So today – twenty years on – what does the Rory peck Trust do?
MC: Things have changed quite a bit during the last twenty years and the work that we do has expanded massively, especially as news and media organisations rely more heavily on freelance journalists – whether they’re holding a pen, or a camera or working as a fixer or translator. We support them all.
The world is also a much more dangerous place for journalists today. We’ve seen that most starkly in Syria with the recent kidnappings and executions, but all over the world journalists are targeted and silenced by those who see their independent voices as threats. And freelancers are always the most vulnerable because most work alone, without a steady income, and without the protection and backup of an organisation. So if something goes wrong, the consequences for them and their families can be really severe. That’s where we step in – to support freelancers financially and practically. We’re still the only organisation in the world that is dedicated to helping freelancers in this way.
CB: Don’t you also help them in other ways with safety training, emergency medical field training, and many other important ways that people may not realise?
MC: Yes, we do. We’ve been providing safety training bursaries – to make essential hostile environment training affordable for freelancers – for the last fifteen years. But now we also fund safety, trauma and first aid training for local journalists in places such as Iraq, Beirut, Egypt and Russia. We also produce useful online resources on things like safety, digital security, risk assessment and insurance so that freelancers can arm themselves with the tools and knowledge to help protect themselves. It’s important that freelancers have access to these sorts of resources. Before we launched them, many didn’t. How did you get to know about us?
CB: My father was a television cameraman who went on to set up CVP in the 1980’s. He and my mother have been to the Rory Peck Awards ceremony as guests of Sony several times and were very affected by the impact that it had on them. They always wanted to do something to support the Trust and its work but didn’t know what exactly. Eventually after the 2014 ceremony – which I attended – I came up with the idea of making a monthly contribution through the sale of three chosen Sony products which we could rotate every few months. That way, we could not only make a regular donation, but raise awareness of the Trust amongst our community.
MC: It’s a really good idea and we’re so grateful for it! So who are your core community?
CB: We sell to freelance cameramen and camerawomen but also to broadcasters, news organisations, production companies and the amateur enthusiast so there’s a real relevance and crossover with what you do.
MC: Yes, absolutely – and it’s a community of people that we know well, especially through the Rory Peck Awards. And we’re very excited about Sony’s support of this initiative, can you tell us a bit more about that?
CB: That’s the best part! Every penny we donate is match-funded by Sony so the support that we give to you is doubled. As you know, Sony is the main sponsor of the Rory Peck Awards and from the get-go they thought this was a great idea to further help you guys. They have been behind this right from the start.
MC: Yes, it’s fantastic. It makes a real difference to our work having this sort of guaranteed monthly donation. It means that we can fund more training bursaries, provide emergency assistance to freelancers when they need it most and fund projects that make a real difference to lives of freelancers in countries like Iraq, Beirut and Russia. But this sort of core support also helps us to operate day to day. A large part of our work – online resources, information, advice, support, making connections with freelancers and local partner organisations in difficult countries – also needs funding and this will really help with that.
CB: I know, you’re a small team but I never think of you as a small organisation because the impact and the reach that you have is international. It’s big. I see this as the beginning of a relationship we can really build on and develop with you and your community. We’d love to work with you on workshops and events for freelancers that can help them with their work – such as effective social media and marketing and other pro-bono support.
MC: Well, we look forward to that!
CB: It makes us very proud to be listed as one of your major donors.
MC: Thank you – we are delighted too!
Photo credit; Etienne de Malglaive. The image is of 2012 Rory Peck Awards joint Features winner Alberto Arce.