Incoming BBC news director promises action for more on-air female journalists

 

Media Editor

James Harding, the incoming Director of News at the BBC, has admitted his discomfort at the lack of women broadcasters on the BBC's bulletins and has promised to address the issue as a priority.

In an internal address to BBC staff, Mr Harding, the former editor of The Times, said that, as a newcomer to the BBC, he had been struck by the lack of female journalists in on-air roles. "I think that as an outsider there is clearly an issue about the number of female broadcasters - the number of broadcasters on air - that is one thing you do notice - and we're going to have do something determined about that," he said.

Mr Harding was answering questions from BBC Radio 4 presenter Justin Webb at the organisation's annual BBC News Festival event, where the organisation seeks to find ways to improve its news output. Asked by Webb if he could improve the representation of women on BBC news programmes, Harding responded: "We're going to have to do it…as a viewer and listener you're aware of it. And you think to yourself 'Hang on, the BBC can do better than that.' And we can." Asked if it was a priority issue, he said "I'm saying it's something important to do".

Tony Hall, who arrived at the BBC as Director-General at the start of last month(April), is already under pressure to make changes to rectify a gender imbalance across the organisation. The lack of female television presenters over the age of 50 has been highlighted in the news media this month. The BBC has also faced criticism over a shortfall of women interviewees in stories broadcast on its news programmes.

His fellow peer, Maurice Glasman, the founder of the Blue Labour political tendency and an adviser to party leader David Miliband, has called for licence fee payers and BBC staff to be allowed to elect members of the organisation's governing body, the BBC Trust.

In a speech to BBC journalists at New Broadcasting House in London, Lord Glasman said that allowing the BBC's employees and audiences to have a say in who governed the corporation would help to increase public trust. "The reality is that no one holds the BBC management to real account," said the peer of Lord Patten's BBC Trust, which is sometimes criticised for being a cheerleader for the BBC executive as well as its governing body.

"There can be no common good with management unless there is real power-sharing," said Lord Glasman. "Instead of being appointed solely by government fiat, the BBC Trust should be a third elected by licence-fee payers, with a further third of its members elected by the BBC workforce, whether journalists, caterers, production and technical staff or cleaners. In addition, the staff should elect one third of the BBC Executive."

The peer's proposal was welcomed by the National Union of Journalists at the BBC. David Campanale, NUJ spokesman, said: "For too long, the BBC's non-executive directors have been drawn largely from industry and the City, while the views of the workforce are not represented at board level. The lack of 'say' perhaps accounts for the relational disconnection between staff and the upper tiers of BBC management."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map