Channel 4’s Director of Programmes Ian Katz has today appointed Louisa Compton as Head of News and Current Affairs, replacing Dorothy Byrne who announced she was stepping down from the role earlier this month. In her new role Louisa will be responsible for overseeing Channel 4’s multi award-winning News and Current Affairs programming as well as overseeing sport – with Head of Sport Pete Andrews reporting into Louisa.
Louisa joined Channel 4 in 2018 as commissioning editor for News and Current Affairs. She has overseen Dispatches, setting the news agenda with critically-acclaimed investigative films such as ‘Celebs for Sale: The Great Charity Scandal’, ‘Trump’s Plans for the NHS’, ‘Starbucks and Nespresso: The Truth About Your Coffee’ and ‘Growing Up Poor: Britain’s Breadline Kids’. Last year she was responsible for Channel 4’s coverage of the General Election and more recently she has led the Current Affairs department’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic, commissioning a number of fast-turnaround programmes looking at the crisis in depth.
Before joining Channel 4, Louisa was responsible for launching the BAFTA and RTS award-winning Victoria Derbyshire BBC TV programme. Under her leadership, the programme tackled difficult, editorially sensitive and legally complex stories and consistently broke significant scoops and investigations becoming an agenda-setting, digital-first News and Current Affairs programme. Louisa has previously been Editor of Radio 1/1 Xtra, Youth News Service. Prior to that she spent four years as Editor for BBC Radio 5 Live, responsible for daytime output including Victoria Derbyshire, Shelagh Fogarty, Richard Bacon and Saturday Edition.
Ian Katz, Director of Programmes, said: “Dorothy Byrne is a very hard act to follow but if anyone is equipped to it’s Louisa. She has a remarkable combination of news experience, eye for a story and creative flair that won her multiple awards as a programme editor and has helped her make Dispatches the hardest hitting current affairs programme in Britain. She will be a brilliant custodian of Channel 4’s proud tradition of in-depth reporting and investigation and will also oversee our award-winning sports coverage.”
Louisa added: “I’m thrilled to be taking on this role at a time when News and Current Affairs has never been more important or relevant to people’s lives. Channel 4 has an unrivalled record of award-winning, agenda-setting journalism and I look forward to continuing that legacy and working with such talented journalists and film-makers who contribute to our output. Pete Andrews and the rest of the sport team do an amazing job and I’m delighted to continue to work with them on the channel’s sports coverage.”
Louisa will take up the new role on 1st May. As previously announced, Dorothy Byrne will remain at Channel 4 in a specially created role of Editor at Large for a year. In this new role 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.