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, Director of News and Current Affairs at the BBC, joins Stewart Purvis CBE in conversation.
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.
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.
Fran Unsworth will need no reminding that the BBC calls itself “the biggest provider of news in the UK” and “the world’s largest broadcast news organisation” and that it recently announced the “biggest expansion since the 1940s” in international operations.
With more than 35 years’ experience of working for the corporation, she also knows that BBC News regularly quotes independent evidence that it is, “by far, the most trusted and impartial news provider in the UK”.