BBC News

BBC News' Fran Unsworth: No compromise on impartiality

Fran Unsworth (Credit: BBC)

Fran Unsworth used her recent conversation with the RTS to support incoming Director-General Tim Davie’s statement of 5 June, when he stressed the need for impartiality across the organisation, regardless of whatever battles between the BBC and government might be going on behind the scenes. “The more valuable we are to audiences, the greater our standing is going to be with the Government,” the BBC’s director of news and current affairs said firmly.

Fran Unsworth discusses the BBC's impartiality during the current climate

Another week, another huge challenge for BBC News, as it strives to navigate a path between its commitment to impartiality, the clear moral cause behind the movement, and covering the protests in all their complexity.

"Our reporting of the protests at the weekend made it quite clear that the day in London ended in some violence. What weight do you give that? It’s down to editorial judgement on the day," explained Fran Unsworth, in conversation with Stewart Purvis for the RTS.

Making professional productions on the go

Deirdre Mulcahy at the University of Westminster (Credit: RTS London/Phil Barnes)

The freelance producer and trainer gave a demonstration of the smartphone’s filming capability at an RTS London event in early November.

“No matter how big the tool, it comes down to the person who is actually using [it],” said Mulcahy. “Storytelling is about where the focus is – and understanding how you shoot.”

Fran Unsworth: Facing the challenges for BBC News head on

Fran Unsworth (Credit: BBC)

When I ask the BBC’s director of news, Fran Unsworth, if the first year in her new role has lived up to her expectations, she gives a hollow laugh.

“I always knew it was going to be a challenging job, let’s put it like that,” she admits. “But quite how challenging it turned out to be – pretty quickly into it – I possibly hadn’t anticipated.

What lies ahead for Newsnight's new chief Esme Wren

Speculation that BBC Two’s Newsnight might be axed was firmly squashed in February, when Sky News head of politics, business and specialist journalism, Esme Wren, was appointed editor of the flagship show.

Doubts about its future had re-emerged last autumn with the introduction of Nick Ferrari and Emma Barnett’s ITV series, After the News, and the announcement that Newsnight editor Ian Katz was leaving for Channel 4 to become its director of programmes.