Former GB News 'anti-woke' boss named new BBC News director – iNews

The GB News launch director, who quit over the right-wing channel’s shift to exploit the “culture wars”, has been appointed the BBC’s director of news programmes.
The arrival of John McAndrew in the newly-created senior role, overseeing shows including Laura Kuenssberg’s Sunday programme, was seen within the BBC as a sign that director-general, Tim Davie, is determined to ensure “impartiality” across the broadcaster’s news output.
Ministers have accused the BBC’s news output of reflecting a progressive “woke” agenda and called on the BBC to do more to reach viewers in “Red Wall” towns.
Mr McAndrew has more than 25 years’ experience of frontline news and current affairs, having worked in senior roles for the BBC, Sky News, GB News, ITN and NBC International.
As launch director of GB News, he proposed an “anti-woke” alternative to established broadcasters, which would focus on local reporting and feature lively debate between presenters.
He quit a month after the channel’s chaotic launch, following the row over presenter Gutto Hari, who was suspended after taking the knee live on air.
Mr McAndrew rejected what he saw as a shift away from local news to presenters delivering unchallenged rants on “culture war” topics. He was most recently the launch editor of The Andrew Neil Show at Channel 4. His arrival at the BBC was tipped by i a year ago.
At the BBC, he will seek new formats to attract digitally-enabled viewers at a time when linear viewing of 24 hour News channels is under threat.
The domestic BBC News channel is being merged with its global news service under a cost-cutting drive, but the broadcaster is attracting new audiences with formats like Ros Atkins’ Outside Source which crunches down big stories into brief, viral “explainers”.
Mr McAndrew, who previously launched and edited the Daily Politics on BBC Two, said: “It’s an enormous privilege to be returning to BBC News and putting my experience to good use at the world’s most brilliant, creative, and trusted broadcaster, at a time when trust, truth and transparency are at an absolute premium.”
He had been linked to the top job at BBC News, which ultimately went to then ITN chief executive Deborah Turness, to whom McAndrew will now report.
Ms Turness said: “John is a hugely creative talent, with excellent editorial judgement. He’s a leading programme innovator who has a deep understanding of how to connect with audiences, and will ensure they get the value they deserve from BBC News. It’s wonderful to welcome him back to the BBC.”
Before becoming editorial director and director of news and programmes at GB News, Mr McAndrew enjoyed more than a decade at Sky News, where he was executive producer for Sky’s election coverage and Leaders’ Debate in 2010.
The news director job description called for “someone who is able to translate the BBC’s commitment to the pursuit of truth with impartiality and accuracy to create bold, compelling programming that brings our Editorial Standards to life and truly deliver ‘value for all’ for UK and global consumers”.
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