Jim Gray, editor of Channel 4 News, has announced that he will step down from the role after 14 years.
Jim Gray explained: “I’ve enjoyed nearly a decade and a half of what I truly believe is the best job in this business. The programme is in fantastic shape, produced every day by an incredible team and it’s time to let someone else take the reins and have the fun. This is a very special place to work with a special gravitational pull. Channel 4 News feels like ‘home’ for a certain type of person – people with journalistic passion who have something to say, and who are up for trouble-making. They’ve kept me exhilarated over the years, and that makes it very hard to say goodbye. Whilst I’m sad to do so I’m also excited about what else is out there.”
Gray was appointed to the role in December 1997, after six months as the programme’s deputy editor. Previously, he spent 17 years at the BBC, first at Radio 4 and later at Newsnight where he progressed from Political Producer to deputy editor.
In his time at the programme, Gray has overseen major exclusives including the attorney-general’s secret advice on the legality of war on Iraq and the recent coverage into the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war that has seen calls for an international war crimes tribunal.
Under his editorship, the programme has been awarded multiple times by the Royal Television Society, BAFTA and the International Emmys. He has led Channel 4 News in its transformation from a 7pm weekday-only programme into a multiplatform news service, on screens 7 days a week, and at the heart of a thriving online community. He has been responsible for hiring and promoting key people such as Krishnan Guru-Murthy, who joined to present alongside Jon Snow in 1998.
The announcement follows a year that has seen the most significant period of change in the programme’s history. In 2011, he led the process that introduced a new programme look, format and studio and a raft of big names to the flagship 7pm bulletin. It saw Political Correspondent Cathy Newman become a main Presenter, and Matt Frei and Michael Crick, amongst others, join the programme.
Gray will remain in his role as editor and also support C4 and ITN with the process to find his successor over the next few months. It will be an open recruitment process, coordinated by Robert Lindsay Associates.
Jon Snow, Presenter, Channel 4 News says: “Jim Gray is the spirit and inspiration that is Channel 4 News. Maverick, anarchic, strict, mildly permissive, imaginative – there is no better Editor in the United Kingdom. Jim has lived in my head for fifteen fabulous years – chucking the furniture of my certainties about, throwing many particularly treasured pieces out of the window altogether. Channel 4 News is what it is because of Jim.”
John Hardie, CEO, ITN says: “Jim has led an extraordinarily successful period in Channel 4 News’ history – not least the last year which has seen him evolve the line-up, structure and visual identity of the show. I am incredibly grateful to him for his contribution to the programme and to ITN, and pleased that he will continue to lead the team, and advise us as we look to fill this once in a generation role.”
Dorothy Byrne, Head of News and Current Affairs, Channel 4 says: “Jim has led Channel 4 News with creativity, experience and a fierce passion for the programme and everyone who works on it. The News has gone from strength to strength and he will be missed.”