BBC director of news Helen Boaden has appointed head of political programmes Fran Unsworth as the new head of newsgathering.
BBC director of news Helen Boaden has appointed head of political programmes Fran Unsworth as the new head of newsgathering.

Unsworth, who has been responsible for all the BBC's daily news coverage and current affairs journalism from Westminster since July 2000, replaces Adrian Van Klaveren, who has been appointed deputy director of news. He replaces Mark Damazer, who is now controller of BBC Radio 4, himself replacing Boaden.

Unsworth will take charge of all the BBC's newsgathering capabilities around the world as well as its scores of foreign and domestic bureaux. She takes on the post following BBC director general Mark Thompson's decision to cut 15% from the budgets of all areas, including news. However, he has also said he sees news as a key public service area and has pledged to invest in shows such as Newsnight and increase the BBC's newsgathering presence in the Islamic world.

Before her political programmes posting, Unsworth spent two years as home news editor, co-ordinating the BBC's UK newsgathering operation, including coverage of events such as the Paddington train crash and the Stansted hijacking as well as award-winning coverage of Northern Ireland.

Before that, she was assignments editor in the social affairs unit between 1996 and 1998), during which time she also completed a stint as producer and output editor on BBC1's One and Six O'Clock News.

Unsworth spent her early BBC career in local radio, before becoming a producer on BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat. Between 1990 and 1993 she was producer/ deputy editor of R4's World At One and PM.