BY Richard Tait

INSI remembers Chris Cramer 1948-2021

Chris Cramer was honorary president of INSI for almost a decade, from 2003 to 2012. The following is a tribute from Richard Tait, INSI’s former treasurer and a founding member.

It is impossible to overstate Chris’ contribution to INSI. When the International News Safety Institute launched, its founders were determined to make it an independent members’ organisation dedicated to safety. It could only work if it won the support and commitment of the world’s leading news organisations.

Chris was at the time quite simply one of the biggest and most respected names in world news – recognised by friends and rivals alike as a ferociously competitive journalist first at the BBC and then CNN and Reuters. The fact that he was also such an enthusiastic advocate of INSI won over those editors who might have worried, privately, that concern for safety, and cooperation between news organisations was incompatible with daring and enterprising reporting.

He was INSI’s recruiter-in-chief, using his considerable influence behind the scenes and making characteristically blunt keynote speeches at media conferences, telling editors they should be ashamed of themselves if they did not adopt the INSI safety code and join the organisation, and threatening, with a smile, to come back and give the same speech next year if they did not. His advocacy of high quality safety training and equipment, his open discussion of the issues of PTSD changed the way in which many news organisations saw their responsibilities and by the time he retired in 2012 INSI had a strong and committed membership base.

In a brilliant career, Chris achieved a huge amount as an editor. But I think he was most proud of what he had done to make our profession safer. A great man.

Richard Tait is a professor of journalism at Cardiff University, a former editor of BBC's Newsnight and Channel 4 News and was editor-in-chief of ITN.

Photo credit: ullstein bild via Getty Images