After over 15 years leading Channel 4’s multi-award-winning news and current affairs output, Dorothy Byrne has decided to step down as Head of News & Current Affairs and will take on the specially created role of Editor at Large.
Her decision follows a year in which she delivered the prestigious MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival, was honoured with the Grierson Trustees’ Award at the 2019 Documentary Awards, saw Channel 4 News crowned Daily News Programme of the Year and the acclaimed For Sama win a BAFTA and be nominated for an Oscar.
In the new role which she will take on for a year from May 1st, she will work with the wider organisation in a leadership capacity to drive forward a number of projects including: developing a factual podcast strategy; helping to shape and implement a new sustainability strategy; and mentoring and developing staff across the organisation. She will also continue to contribute towards programme ideas but will not take an active commissioning role.
A full recruitment process will now be undertaken by Director of Programmes, Ian Katz for a new Head of News & Current Affairs.
Dorothy Byrne said: “The last year has been one of great success for Channel 4 News and Current Affairs and for me personally so it’s the perfect time for me to step aside and give someone else the pleasure of the best job in television. I will continue to contribute to the creative life of the channel. I am also very excited to be working to help develop the careers of staff, particularly of women, at the channel and also to be playing a key role in the creation of a new sustainability policy for Channel 4.”
Ian Katz said: “No British media executive has done as much to shape the coverage of news and current affairs on television as Dorothy. Over more than 15 years she has been the restless force behind agenda setting Channel 4 programming from the exposing of war crimes in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, to the recent laying bare of Michael Jackson’s child sexual abuse. She has a laser-like eye for a story, huge creative flair and Channel 4 DNA running through her like rock. I’m so pleased that she will be staying at the channel for another year in her new role as Editor-at-Large.”
Dorothy Byrne is one of the longest-serving heads of commissioning in the television industry, she has been responsible for news and current affairs programmes that have had global and national impact, winning her numerous international Emmy, BAFTA and RTS Awards.
Dorothy was made a Fellow of The Royal Television Society for her ‘outstanding contribution to television’ and received the Outstanding Contribution Award at the RTS Journalism Awards in 2018.
She has received a BAFTA Scotland award for her services to television and was also awarded the Argonon Contribution to the Medium by Women in Film & Television. She is also Chair of the Ethical Journalism Network which supports the development of ethical codes in journalistic organisations across the globe.
As a former World In Action producer and editor of ITV’s The Big Story she became Channel 4’s head of News and Current Affairs in 2003, having previously edited Dispatches as well as producing arts and history series for the channel.
She is a Visiting Professor at De Montfort University, where Channel 4 supports an MA in Investigative Journalism.