One of the BBC World Affairs Editor's career highs: every war appears to have one journalist who liberates the capital ahead of advancing troops.

Famously, it was Max Hastings who entered Port Stanley during the Falklands war.

Frontline News cameraman Peter Jouvenal filmed John as Kabul's Taliban defenders fled in 2001.

John's book, News from No Man's Land, tells the story of how he and Peter got the story.

Television is in many ways the hardest medium for journalists to work with. Which is what makes a scoop like this all the more satisfying for the reporter and the viewer. It took three months for Jouvenal to get Simpson in to Kabul and was only possible because of the contacts that Jouvenal had built up in Afghanistan after two decades of reporting from that country.

There are many obstacles in the way of producing great television: logistical; financial; and technical being among the most important.

Kit: expensive, but getting cheaper.

Camera skills: not easy to master.

People want to keep you out. Including armies; press people; spin doctors; advisers; the police. Sometimes it seems as though they are all against you. A camera person is highly visible when working; so, often easy to stop.

Crewing: technically possible to shoot solo but difficult. Small team can be just driver/tripod carrier/fixer all as one person. Usually different people. Add reporter or producer, who usually have different skills from camera person. Adds up to a few people.

But nothing like a TV report written by someone who can use words -- like Simpson -- working with great, exclusive pictures from somewhere the world wants to see. Even if it is just that day. This is the news point. Radio having the best pictures is a nice line and does mean something but often you just want to see what is going on with a big news story.

 

 

Simpson liberates Kabul