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Dorothy Byrne steps down as Channel 4 head of news

It comes months after she attacked politicians and abusive men in the media during the prestigious MacTaggart Lecture.

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Dorothy Byrne (Jane Barlow/PA)

Dorothy Byrne (Jane Barlow/PA)

Dorothy Byrne (Jane Barlow/PA)

Dorothy Byrne is stepping down as Channel 4 head of news and current affairs after 17 years in the role.

The veteran journalist, who was born in Paisley and raised in Blackpool, will remain at the broadcaster in the specially created role of editor-at-large.

Byrne made headlines when she used last year’s prestigious MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival to attack politicians who avoided public scrutiny and abusive men in the media.

Channel 4
The Channel 4 building in London (Ian West/PA)

She will take on the new role for one year from May 1, developing new factual podcast and sustainability strategies, and mentoring staff across the channel.

Byrne will continue to contribute towards programme ideas but will not take an active commissioning role.

She said in a statement: “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.”

Communications Committee meeting
Ian Katz (House of Commons/PA)

Channel 4 director of programmes Ian 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.

“She has a laser-like eye for a story, huge creative flair and Channel 4 DNA running through her like rock.

“I’m so pleased that she will be staying at the channel for another year in her new role as editor-at-large.”

Katz will lead the recruitment process for a new head of news and current affairs.

Byrne worked at the Walthamstow Forest Guardian before starting her TV career at Granada where she was a producer/director on World In Action.

She became Channel 4’s head of news and current affairs in 2003.

PA