Channel 4 launches search for new current affairs chief as Byrne steps back

Charlie Spargo's picture

Dorothy Byrne, who has been Channel 4 Head of News & Current Affairs for 17 years, has announced she will step down from the role and become editor-at-large at the broadcasting station.

The newly-created role will involve Byrne working with the channel on a projects including a factual podcast strategy, helping to form a new sustainability strategy, and mentoring and developing staff across the organisation. She will be contributing towards programme ideas, but not take an active commissioning role.

In her role as current affairs head, Byrne has overseen a department responsible for documentaries including the BAFTA-winning For Sama, which covered the life of a young couple through the Siege of Aleppo.

Ian Katz, Channel 4's Director of Programmes, has launched a campaign to find Byrne's replacement at the top of Channel 4's crusading news team.

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.”

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."