herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Charlie misses Oscars as RTE send Irish-based reporter to Hollywood

CHARLIE BIRD has missed out on another big US story -- but this time his bosses in Dublin are to blame.

Inexplicably, RTE news editors sent reporter Philip Bromwell to LA to report on Ireland's success, despite having a €500k-a-year office in Washington DC.

The latest development in the ongoing saga about Charlie Bird's ill-fated term in America will raise eyebrows due to the massive waste of money to licence payers.

Instead of Bird making the 2,700km cross-country trip from Washington to Los Angeles, the State-broadcaster opted to fly Philip Bromwell more than 8,000km across the Atlantic.

Bromwell filed for the station TV and radio news programmes for several days in the lead up to the red-carpet event and spent Oscar night with the families of the five Irish hopefuls.

But his presence meant that Bird missed out on yet another big story. He previously missed reporting on Michael Jackson's death because he was on holidays in Dublin.

A spokesperson for RTE explained the decision to send an Irish-based reporter rather than their US one by saying that Bromwell was well versed on the Oscars.

"RTE News decided to send a reporter over to LA cover the Oscar ceremony because we had five nominees from Ireland and Philip Bromwell was chosen because he had done previous reports on the nominees and had built up a good relationship with them," said the spokesperson.

She added that the relationship between Bromwell and the nominees "showed in the reports that he did".

The Herald understands that decision may also have been influenced by the fact that Bromwell can record and edit his own reports.

The station is continuing to grapple with tightening budgets and sending a reporter who can film his own work would be most cost-effective than sending a reporter and camera crew.

Colour reporter Bromwell spent Monday night partying with the families of the Irish hopefuls as well as securing some red-carpet interviews.

After the big show, he also interviewed the only Irish winner and his parents.

Richie Baneham from Tallaght won the Oscar for best visual effects on Avatar, the most financially successful film in history.

Charlie Bird is due to return home from Washington later this year having expressed deep unhappiness with his situation there, complaining that he was lonely.

Bird is expected to have a busy month as Taoiseach Brian Cowen and a host of other ministers fly to the States for St Patrick's Day.

hnews@herald.ie

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